The law for people who live together is completely different from couples who are married or who have formed a registered civil partnership. Whether you are cohabiting in a heterosexual or homosexual relationship, you do not have the same legal rights as couples who have married.
At Coffin Mew we frequently meet people who believe if parties have lived together for a certain length of time or have children together they are common law husband and wife and have legal entitlements; this is not true.
Many cohabiting couples purchase property jointly. Issues concerning the legal ownership of property by a couple in cohabitation can be much more complicated than if you were married or formed a civil partnership and it is important to seek legal advice from the outset. At Coffin Mew our team of family lawyers are all experienced in advising on issues effecting couples who are living together.
We have an experienced Trusts team to support the advice in more complicated cases and we frequently provide support to our residential conveyancing team when unmarried couples are purchasing a property together. Defining interests in a property at the time of purchase can be as easy as ticking the right box.
It is important for cohabiting couples to record from the outset any notable contributions and to carefully consider the shares in which they own their property. A high percentage of cohabitating couples do not have written agreements about the ownership of their family home which can lead to a presumption that ownership is in equal shares regardless of contributions which might have been made. The law will concentrate on what the parties’ common intentions were regarding ownership. The onus would be on the party seeking a greater share to establish this was the common intention of both parties.
In cases where only one party has purchased the property it can be difficult for the non owning partner to establish any financial claim whatsoever. The non owning partner would have to establish an interest in the property under trust principles. Therefore, a detailed account of the history of the parties relationship will be required to determine the parties common intentions.
If you would like further information please contact us on 023 9238 8021 or click below to send an email.
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