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PROPERTY: Holman v Howes [2005] EWHC 2824 (Ch)

Date:11 NOV 2005

(Chancery Division; Mr Alan Steinfeld QC; 11 November 2005) [2006] 1 FLR 1003

Following a divorce the former husband and wife purchased a property together, both parties contributing substantially to the purchase price, however, the property was put in the former husband's sole name. The couple lived in the property together for some time, with their daughter, but the attempted reconciliation was not successful, and eventually the former husband moved out, leaving the former wife and the daughter in occupation. The daughter was now an adult, and for many years the former wife had occupied the property on her own. The former wife now claimed that the property belonged beneficially entirely to her, while the former husband counterclaimed that the property was held on trust for himself and the former wife in equal shares, and sought an order for the sale of the property. The former wife's case was unsupported by both the contemporaneous documentation and by her own actions over the years. However, assurances had been given to her relating to her entitlement to stay in the property, and these assurances were relevant to the question whether the property should now been sold. The property had been purchased with the common intention of both parties, communicated to each other, that each of them was to have a beneficial interest in it. The beneficial interests were equal, the purchase having been intended by both parties to be a joint and equal venture.