Cohabitees

The rights of unmarried couples are not as protected as they are for married couples.

If you are not married you may still have to deal with financial issues after your separation because, for example, property which you own jointly with your partner. If you and your partner are not able to decide what is to happen to any joint property then you can ask the court to decide. You might wish to argue that you should receive more of the sale proceeds because you paid the deposit or made a greater contribution to the purchase price, or paid part or the entire mortgage.

It is important to keep details of any payments you make as you will need to prove you have made these in order to establish your interest in the property. The court can decide how much your stake in the property is worth. The court can make orders to restrict or exclude one partner from occupying the property. Or set conditions that the person remaining in the property pay all the bills and other expenses, or take over any responsibilities connected to the property. If you cannot establish any interest in the property, but you have children, then you may be able to apply on the children’s behalf for a share of the property. This application can be made under the Children Act 1989. Orders can be made against your partner. This includes orders to transfer the property from your partner to you as the parent who is caring for the child or children.

Under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1970 an engaged couple who separate will have the protection of any law which relates to the property rights of husband and wives. All you need to show is that there was an “agreement to marry” and that this agreement has been broken. This is a complex area of the law and our work in this area will always focus on resolving all issues with sensitivity and discretion.

Please contact us to discuss your personal situation.

We are experienced in advising on and preparing ‘Living Together’ documents.