The Bank of Mum and Dad – family loans and intervener claims

The Guardian has recently reported that “Billions of pounds loaned by “the bank of mum and dad” to help with property purchases and to boost the finances of newly married offspring are helping to fuel rising levels of inequality, according to a thinktank.” (Guardian, 13 February 2023).

It is becoming increasingly prevalent in financial remedy cases where one party (or both) has received significant financial support from their parents. For example, their parents have contributed towards the purchase of a property. This causes increased tension and difficulties upon the breakdown of a marriage, particularly if one spouse asserts that any financial support received from their parents was a “loan” and the other a “gift”.

Sadly, this scenario can lead to further issues when determining what the separating couple may be entitled to by way of a distribution of their matrimonial assets, particularly if a third party asserts that they have a beneficial interest in a property held in the names of one (or both) of the separating couple. This can often lead to the third party (i.e. Mum or Dad) being required to defend their interest by joining the separating couple’s financial remedy proceedings.

However, all parties should proceed with caution should a third party apply to “join” the divorcing couple’s proceedings for determination of their interest in the couple’s matrimonial assets. For the purposes of costs, the proceedings between the parties to the marriage and any third parties are not financial remedy proceedings. That being the case, there are significant costs risks involved when a third party applies to “join” the financial remedy proceedings. It can also cause a significant delay in the resolution of the proceedings generally, so the stakes are fairly high.

Each case is fact specific and the approach that will be taken will depend upon the characteristics and nuances of each case. Our solicitors at Lux have considerable experience representing all parties involved in third party intervener cases and the difficulties that can follow thereto. We therefore have ample experience in dealing with this complex area of law and can advise upon a strategy that best suits each party and their case.

If you need legal advice about any issue relating to an intervener claim, please contact us on 02920 197203 to speak to one of our expert family law solicitors.