Before I married I bought a plot of land outright, from savings. After I married, my husband and I built a home on it, through a mortgage loan, which is repaid from my own bank account every month (my husband has kids from his last marriage). How can I best protect my interests, and that of my children, in the future?

Answers

As a rule, rights in land acquired before marriage remain personal, unless before/after the house was built on it, the building and the plot were registered in the spouses' joint names, as a condition to obtaining the mortgage loan. However, if the plot, and the house, remained registered solely in your name, funding for building the house, and repayment of the mortgage loan, do give your husband considerable rights in the home, which is joint property, but with the possibility of deducting the value of land itself. Accordingly, the fact that the mortgage repayments are made via your personal bank accounts is of no great significance.

You can act to define your property rights, so that your contribution is more realistically expressed, in the event of an end of your financial partnership/breakdown in your marriage, by drafting a property relations agreement. This, of course, depends on the co-operation of your husband.

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