When cohabitees separate they potentially face the same painful experiences that a married couple face. The same difficult issues can also be faced by those not in a relationship but with a shared or joint interest in a property. Osbornes can advise you in resolving these issues
Cohabiting couples have very often built up a life together over a long period of time. Therefore in the event of a separation there will be various issues to address. Broadly speaking these issues may concern any children, financial provisions for the children and the redistribution of finances and any assets between the individuals themselves.
In relation to financial disputes, if there are children involved then the Courts will look first to the best interests of a child and will look at the needs of the child and of the carers for the child. Often this can result in a transfer of a property to a carer until a child reaches the age of 18 or ceases full time education with the property then being sold and the proceeds divided between the two former cohabitees. The financial positions of the parents and their and the child’s financial needs will be important considerations.
In terms of the ownership of and interest in property where cohabitees or former cohabitees are not married, the Court looks at the laws of Land and Trust. The same is true of joint owners of property who were not in a relationship. The Court would look to the joint common intention of ownership of the property was, often determined by whose name the property is in but factors such as agreements, financial contributions towards the property or the general circumstances can also show what the common intention was to be.
There are no laws for cohabitees to receive shares of pensions, lump sum payments or maintenance from their former partners except where the lump sums or maintenance are for the benefit of a child.
If you are involved in a dispute with a former partner to whom you were not married then one of our family team members could help you in resolving these issues. Both Andrew Watson and Lisa Pepper are Resolution accredited specialists in Cohabitation Law.