UNMARRIED COUPLES - (COHABITEES)
When you live together and things go wrong, the options available in relation to a financial settlement, are very different to those that are available to married couples. In relation to your child arrangements the procedure is the same.
If you entered into a Cohabitation/Living together agreement when you started living together, this agreement will set out how you are to divide your assets at separation, with the aim of making the separation process far more streamlined and far less stressful. For more information about living together and cohabitation, please download our free PDF Guide to moving in and getting married.
For Separating couples (without a Cohabitation agreement) the use family mediation to attempt to reach a voluntary agreement may help resolve problems. However, not everyone can agree how to divide their assets. If you are not married, generally you are not able to make a claim against assets or income owned solely by the other. For example, you could not make a claim against your ex-partner’s pension fund that accrued during the relationship, no matter how long you were together. The only income claim that can be made is for the benefit of shared children through the Child Maintenance Service. In certain circumstances, there are other applications that can be made under the Children Act for the financial benefit of a child. This is a complicated area and you should arrange an appointment with one of our Consultants to discuss your options further.
The main area that can be considered is any house owned. You may be able to make a claim against a house owned by your partner, provided you can demonstrate a substantial financial contribution or perhaps the fact that they hold the property on trust for you. Again, this is a complex area and you will need to arrange a consultation to discuss why youfeel you have an interest in your ex-partner’s property and we can then start to consider any evidence that you may have.
Lastly, if you own a house in joint names with your ex-partner and cannot agree for it to be sold or transferred to one of you, you can apply to the court for an Order for Sale. This is a civil procedure that sits between family law and land law. We regularly act for former cohabitees that cannot agree what is to happen to their property, that is no longer required as a family home. If this is something you require assistance with, please contact us and arrange an initial consultation. Please note that due to the nature of the applications mentioned above we are unable to offer a fixed fee and all work is charged for on our hourly rate charging. This will be explained to you during any initial consultation.