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A womaniser who neglected to take legal advice before putting his home into his and his long-term girlfriend’s joint names will have to live with the consequences. Despite his protestations, a judge found that she was entitled to half the property – in part to recompense her for the way that he had treated her.
Their volatile, on-off, relationship began when both of them were married and lasted more than 25 years. Although she became pregnant three times, he had each time paid for a termination. On discovering their affair, his wife had informed her that he had a young child and had conducted a relationship with another woman. She was extremely upset on discovering the truth, but the affair had continued.
During the course of the relationship, the man had transferred his property – where his girlfriend never lived – into their joint names. In those circumstances, following the end of the affair, she launched proceedings. She sought an order for sale of the property, which was worth about £230,000, and equal division of the proceeds.
In upholding her claim and granting the relief sought, a judge noted that it was the man’s decision alone not to take legal advice before executing the transfer. His plea that he had only done so in the expectation, never realised, that they would get married was rejected. Although he had sought to minimise the extent of his womanising, the judge found that he had placed the property in joint names to show his commitment to his girlfriend and to make amends to her following his wife’s revelations.
Wickremasinghe v Moss. Case Number: E10CL108