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When married couples separate the court can make an order it believes is fair and reasonable for the parties when looking at their overall circumstances. The approach taken towards separating unmarried couples is far more restrictive.

The law relating to cohabitees’ property predominantly derives from the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act. As a general approach the Courts will be interested in trying to clarify who owns what property and whether or not this properly reflects the intentions as to ownership.

If you wish us to advise you on your position it would be helpful if you would provide us with the following information and documents:-

  • Details of the ownership of any land or assets owned.
  • Discussions that took place prior toand after the purchase
  • Any written or verbal agreements
  • Details as to who paid the deposit.
  • Full details of who paid the mortgage payments.
  • Details of any additional contribution made by you, for example, towards the property, e.g. funding or carrying out of the renovation of the property.
  • Details of the solicitors who acted in the purchase of any such property.
  • If you are renting a property, whether it is rented from the council or a private landlord and the amount of rent that is paid each week and whether the rental agreement is in your sole name, joint names or in the name of your cohabitee.

Unlike when married couples separate, cohabitees are not entitled to receive or obliged to pay maintenance to each other except for the benefit of children.

Written by Andrew Watson and Lisa Pepper

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