Law graduate ex-girlfriend wins legal fight for half their home


A law graduate who split from her partner of 16 years has won a legal battle for half of their £1.7m former home.

Shree Ladwa was accused of living off her girlfriend, Beverley Chapman during their time together, but when the relationship broke down, a legal battle ensued over the property and the return of alleged loans, jewellery, shoes and handbags worth around £130,000, as well as the proceeds of the sale of an Aston Martin.

In court, Ms Chapman, a successful businesswoman, was said to have lavished Ms Ladwa with jewellery, designer shoes and bags, an Aston Martin and hundreds of thousands of pounds and had even proposed with a diamond ring.

However, despite the fact that it was Ms Chapman who had paid the mortgage off, Ms Ladwa claimed she was entitled to half the property as would be the case with any other 'housewife' in a traditional 'divorce'.

She argued that Ms Chapman, who was the sole earner in the relationship, had bought the property in her name as it was easier to get a mortgage, but had promised that as soon as the mortgage could be discharged it would be transferred into their joint names.

Ms Chapman, however, disputed this saying that she had been treated as a ‘cash cow’ and had been pressurised by Ms Ladwa into putting the property in both names, but Judge Stephen Murch rejected her case, stating that he believed that it was always their 'common intention'.

He went on to note that the house had been bought largely with money from their joint bank account, including the proceeds of the sale of their previous home and although Ms Chapman had made 'substantially greater contributions' to the account, it was a joint account which they must have regarded as joint property.

The decision means that both women’s shares in the property are equal and that Ms Ladwa doesn’t have to return the money or the designer goods she was given.

When setting up home together, no matter how awkward it may be to bring it up,  it’s always advisable  to make arrangements in case the relationship breaks down. If you’d like some guidance on how cohabitationagreements work and what you can expect from them, our solicitors can talk you through it.

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