‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure’

Posted: 12th July 2013

seasideIn a bitter illustration of the truism that love and financial arrangements do not always mix well, a pensioner is locked in legal dispute with his ex-partner in relation to their respective interests in a seaside home. A High Court judge noted that the row was a classic example of the saying, ‘marry in haste, repent at leisure’.

The pensioner had paid £450,000 for the property a month before he and his partner separated. Prior to the purchase they had planned to spend the rest of their lives together and they were identified as joint legal and beneficial owners on the property’s title deeds.

Concerned to ensure that the property or its value passed to his heirs when he died, the pensioner sought a declaration that his partner held her interest in the property on trust for him. In asking the Court to grant summary judgment in his favour, he argued that there could be only one just outcome to the case.

It was submitted that email traffic between the former couple conclusively revealed that an agreement had been reached that the entire property would form part of his estate. The pensioner also argued that that arrangement had not been reflected on the title deeds due to an ‘obvious’ drafting error.

But the Court declined to grant summary judgment on the basis that the emails did not show that the parties had reached any clear agreement as to what would happen to the property if they split up after its purchase. It could not be said that the man's partner had no realistic prospect of successfully defending the claim.

Directing a full hearing of the dispute, Mr Justice Vos remarked "The court cannot help but have some sympathy with the parties' predicament. There is an old saying, 'marry in haste, repent at leisure', and this does seem to be a classic example of that situation."