An Indian-origin woman, who was fighting a divorce battle with her ex-girlfriend over their jointly owned house in the United Kingdom, has won a share in the property.
Both the women will continue to hold equal shares in the London home, which is worth nearly £1.7 million, according to the court ruling, made public this week.
Shree Ladwa, a 43-year-old law graduate, told the court that during the course of their 16-year relationship, she successfully carried out the “traditional” role of a housewife and deserves a share in the property which was supposed to be mutually owned.
While Ladwa does not have a permanent job, her ex-girlfriend Beverly Chapman owns a real-estate business and paid off the mortgage of the house.
Chapman, 46, claimed that she was treated like a “cash cow” by Ladwa and that she transferred the house into their joint names in 2008 due to the latter’s nagging. The house had earlier been bought by Chapman solely on her name. The couple separated in 2016.
Judge Stephen Murch backed Ladwa’s claims, stating that it was their “common intention” on buying the house that it would be mutually owned, according to PTI. He rejected Chapman’s claim that she only transferred the house into joint names because of Ladwa’s “undue influence,” the report said.
“Having seen Ms Chapman give evidence, I cannot accept that Ms Ladwa was the kind of person who could make her act against her will,” the judge said. “Unfortunately, I was left with the impression that Ms Chapman has convinced herself that her version of events is to be preferred, regretting what she now perceives to have been undue generosity when she was in a relationship with Ms Ladwa.”
Chapman had said earlier that she worked to fund their lavish lifestyle and gave Ladwa a number of valuable possessions, including an Aston Martin for her birthday and a diamond engagement ring during their trip to Monaco.
Chapman’s lawyer, Elizabeth Darlington, had told the court that Ladwa received an annual allowance of £25,000 from her mother and never did “a proper day’s work,” living off Chapman instead. Ladwa had been unable to find work even with a law degree and her attempts at starting a business had also failed, the court heard.
Ladwa informed the court that she concentrated on getting a training contract after the law degree and applied for many jobs, but to her dismay she got no positive response.
The Central London County Court also learned that the couple got together when Chapman was working on her family’s successful building business while Ladwa was a law student. She later went for a training at the famous French cookery college, Le Cordon Bleu, but did not get any permanent job and remained unemployed.
The court announced its verdict that both women will continue to have equal rights in their jointly shared house, and Ladwa does not need to return the gifts, worth about £130,000, that she accepted during the course of their relationship.