Cohabitation Disputes

Cohabitation does not lead to the same rights as to marriage. There is no such thing as a Common Law Wife, and upon separation cohabiting couples face a tangle of complex statutes and case law which can lead to quite unexpected results.

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Understanding Cohabitation Rights

For example, there is no right to maintenance between cohabiting couples, even if one has given up career opportunities to care for their children and now has minimal job prospects. Most cohabitation disputes revolve around division of property under the provision of the trusts of land and appointment of trustees act 1996, and subsequent case law. The rules are not entirely clear or comprehensive, and the case law is inconsistent, leading to complex, legal disputes and unpredictable results. Touching of the most just solution, careful analysis, and evidence of contribution, documentation and agreements is necessary.

Capital and Income Provisions in Child Maintenance Disputes

The claimant in these disputes may either/or also apply on behalf of children on schedule one of the Children Act 1989 for capital and income provision brackets, although income would probably be dealt with by the child maintenance service.

These cases are not subject to the overriding principle of fairness in divorce cases, which often comes as a shock to the applicant. Legal advice and representation is essential to achieve the best possible result

Case study

Mrs. A was asked to leave the home she had shared with her wealthy partner for 20 years, and we knew that it would be difficult to establish her rights because she was not married, and the house was in the man’s sole name. We were able to establish that she had put years of her professional skill as an interior designer and gardener into improving the capital value of the property and encouraged her to trace any written evidence that he had promised her a home for life.

We issued court proceedings under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 to claim a fair share of the property, and the partner agreed to give her the house to settle all her claims.  She had been devastated to discover that she would not automatically be treated as a wife after cohabiting for so long, and without a lawyer, she might have ended up homeless.

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Case Study

Miss B lived with the father of her children for over 10 years, and their home was registered in the joint names of herself and her cohabitee.

Upon separation, he demanded that the house be sold and the net proceeds divided equally, in spite of the young age of the children, which would have meant she could not buy another home.

We negotiated with the ex-partner on the basis that the children had a right to claim against him for the use of the capital in their home until they finish full-time secondary education, and as a result, he withdrew his demand that the home was sold immediately.

“Penny and Mike. Can I take this moment to say thank you to you and your staff for the kind professional manner in dealing with my difficult situation. I will recommend you whole heartedly to anyone that would need your assistance.”