Declaration of Trust - covering 100% of all monthly bills (utilities, internet, council tax + car)

Hoping to get some help as very concerned over what has been agreed as outlined below:

Male A was with Female B for 30 years. She met him when she was mid 40s and he was 15 so he has spent his entire adult life with her. They bought a house together 25 years ago with her putting in the deposit and him paying the mortgage and bills. She took early retirment in her 50s so he has financially supported her (including doing an open university degree to improve his opportunities and as a result of hard work doing well in his career). Three years ago he ended the relationship and moved out, initially renting for a year before buying a property of his own. 

It was a very difficult decision but he had been unhappy for a long time and they were living separate lives. She has remained in the home and he continued to pay the mortgage and all the bills because he felt guilty. She spoke to a lawyer and had a new Declaration of Trust drawn up - he agreed that while they are not married the property is owned equally and a sale cannot be forced unless both parties agree. The house has quadrupled in value since it was bought and requires maintenance. She has stated she intends to live there until she dies. 

The area that has caused concern is that she was very domineering and controlling throughout their relationship and put him under considerable duress to sign the new Declaration (unpleasant texts, false accusations, emotional blackmail) which also includes a commitment to continue to pay all her monthly bills (council tax, utilities, internet, Sky, mobile bill, house maintenance including the cost of a gardener, upkeep of hot tub and her motoring costs of car tax, MOT, service etc). He took no legal advice, and only now realises that this financial commitment allows her to continue to exert control over him. Additionally, his business is suffering due to the economy and he is having to reduce his outgoings.

While he believes it is fair that she takes 50% of the house and he will continue to pay the mortgage, the paying of all bills ad infinitum does not seem right. They were never married or had children so there are no dependents. What would his position be if he withdraws the monthly financial support, or gives her a one off lump sum to essentially pay her off and how would this be calculated? The Declaration of Trust is very one sided and he obviously should have taken legal advice but in its current form I could not see how a Judge (if it went to court) would approve.

Thanks - really hope you clever bods can provide some clarity as this is hanging over him, and obviously impacting his current relationship.

Comments

  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,014 Forumite
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    He needs to get some legal advice of his own. I don't know what can be done, but if he doesn't ask he won't find out.
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  • BrassicWoman
    BrassicWoman Posts: 3,202 Forumite
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    Agree. He needs a lawyer, sounds like he is breaking free of coercive control.
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  • Thank you. He will be speaking to a lawyer but any insight into how common it is to have all bills covered in DoT would be helpful in understanding how unusual a situation this is! 
  • msb1234
    msb1234 Posts: 526 Forumite
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    Did you really mean he was 15 when they got together? And she was 30 years older than him? Who was looking out for him when he was still a child?????
    this woman has taken advantage of him for over we years and is continuing to do so. If the sexes were reversed, someone would be telling the younger person to go to the police and have him charged with rape!!!
  • Jude57
    Jude57 Posts: 542 Forumite
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    edited 2 May 2022 at 4:39PM
    Tawney1 said:
    Thank you. He will be speaking to a lawyer but any insight into how common it is to have all bills covered in DoT would be helpful in understanding how unusual a situation this is! 
    I'd think that the solicitor he speaks to would be able to give an idea of how common this type of DoT is. My opinion (for what it's worth) is that, absent some limiting disability, both sides would normally be responsible for their own living costs outside the mortgage payment. 

    The woman will have her state pension in addition to occupational pension (if she has no occupational pension she would be able to claim other benefits to top up the state pension). She may indeed wish to maintain her comfortable lifestyle but that's not reasonable for many retired people who have to reduce non-essential spending when they retire.

    I think where Person A may be stuck is that it's highly likely Person B's solicitor had Person A sign a document confirming they had been urged to seek independent legal advice at the time of the DoT but had chosen not to do so. Then there's the added complication that, having agreed to the DoT, Person A has, in effect, accepted that Person B is their financial dependant. A Court might find that the DoT came about due to coercive control, particularly given Person A's young age at the start of the relationship. That's not to say the financial dependency of Person B is negated but it would surely be a factor in how the financial dependency was created.

    I wonder if @TBagpuss has a better understanding, as I believe they work in family law?
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