The law regarding cohabitation disputes has seen a development. An article reported in the Times, entitled “Woman who used fiancée as cash cow wins half of £1.7m home.”
The woman, aged 43, won her argument on the grounds she was supported by her partner during their 16 year relationship. She relied upon the premise she was given jewellery and hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash by her partner. There was no marriage and at the end of the relationship they fought over their shared possessions.
The other party to the dispute, aged 46, alleged she had been pressurised by her partner into putting the house in Chingford, Essex, under both of their names within a year of purchase in 2007, for £1.4 m.
The claimant, Ms Ladwa argued the relationship was like a conventional divorce and hence, she was entitled to half of the property. There appears to be a perception on the part of the second party, Ms Chapman, that she had been unduly generous once she had assimilated the strength of these arguments.
The gifts provided to Ms Ladwa, unemployed during the relationship lasting since 2000, included an Aston Martin, shoes, bags and designer jewellery. There had also been a proposal of marriage on two occasions on the part of Ms Chapman.
Ms Ladwa was also in receipt of an annual allowance of £25,000 from her own mother.
At the end of the relationship and their separation, Ms Chapman sued Ms Ladwa for the value of the house and for the return of “loans” and gifts. She did not succeed.
From the judgement, it would seem the judge, Judge Stephen March, decided Ms Chapman had the economic strength in the relationship. The gifts and money were construed not as loans. They were gifts and hence, should be held onto by Ms Ladwa. She would not have been in the financial position to repay any of these.
If you have to sort out a dispute regarding property and other assets, you are welcome to contact Wynn Mediation with a view to mediating. These cases are very expensive if taken to court. Mediation is cost effective and offers both parties the opportunity to put their respective cases forward. The mediator is trained to try and remove the hostility that exists where there has been a particularly acrimonious breakdown in a relationship. The parties need to focus upon legal principles to ensure that they find a fair outcome towards resolving their dispute.
Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, Accredited Family Mediator and previously a solicitor.
We are Wynn Mediation at 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW.
www.wynnmediation. com E Mail: enquiries@wynnmediation. Com Tel: 01702 341241
PMM/Wynn Mediation August 2018