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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7602
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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We have lived together for 13 years but are not maried. there

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We have lived together for 13 years but are not maried. there are no children.
I paid for everything, furnitue etc and gave her £500. 00 house keeping as well. She has agood job.
We have always had two cars, paid for by me. 2 months ago I bought a Merc sports car for her use which we called a gift from me to her. She has walk out taking household good s, pictures etc with her and the car. She says that as it was a gift from me to her it is her property. I regard it as a gift within the co habitation as part of our life style. She intends to sell it to raise funds for a deposit on a house. Has she the right to it or can I have it back. If I had known that she intended to leave I would not have bought it.



Thanks for your question.


It all turns on whether you intended it as a gift or paid the money for the car in the expectation that it would be paid back at a later date. From the wording of your post it appears as if it was a simple gift from you to her as a loving couple and therefore you would not be able to sue her to recover the monies.


It it was made plain that she should pay you back the money over a period of time, or that the car was hers only for the period in which you were in a relationship but upon the relationship ceasing it was to be returned to you, then you may be able to sue to recover the monies. Your case here would be stronger if you had documentary evidence of the intended arrangement but you could still issue if you did not, although the reality is that your realistic chances of success would decrease.


If you consider that she has obtained this by deception because of the short period of time between your break up then this conceivably an offence under the Theft Act 1968, although there may be difficulties if you did not actually buy the car. You could use this as leverage and possibly speak to the police to see if they consider it obtaining property by deception.


If the above does not apply then, regrettably, she is under no duty to pay you the money and you may benefit from adopting a less adversarial approach and appealing to her sense of fairness to come to a compromise to either give you some money now or at a defined later date (or repayment plan). Get this in writing.


Sorry it could not be better news, the fact that no couple in a relationship considers these things is not lost on me.


If this is useful please kindly click accept so that I may be rewarded for my time. It will gratefully received and you will be free to ask follow up questions.


Kind regards,




Edited by Tom on 7/16/2010 at 12:06 PM EST
Thomas and 2 other UK Family Law Specialists are ready to help you


I should also add that if she was guilty of obtaining property by deception (please re-read above as I made an edit) then you would be able to sue her to recover the money.


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