Answer: They have a joint mortgage and so are jointly and severally liable for it. They are joint owners of the property and could be either tenants in common or joint beneficial owners. We do not know which, but unless they have made a declaration of trust confirming that they own the property in unequal shares, they are likely to each own 50 per cent of the property.
If the property goes up in value, your sister’s partner will benefit, even though he has contributed very little financially. Your sister should ask her partner to agree to the property being transferred into her sole name.
However, to keep the existing mortgage, she would have to satisfy the lender’s criteria for lending. If her partner does not agree to the transfer of the property, then your sister could apply to the court for an order for sale.
She may also wish to consider applying to the Child Maintenance Service for extra financial support. If she can reach an agreement with her partner, then a family-based arrangement can be set up.
But if an agreement is not possible, she can apply to the statutory Child Maintenance Service, who could set up an arrangement for her.
What's your problem?
If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email email@example.com or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona is legal director in the real estate group of Foot Anstey LLP in Exeter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.