Unsolicited telephone calls misusing our name - We do not nuisance cold call -
Have a question? Call us on 0800 1979 345
This article was published on December 1st, 2017
Currently, there are more than 5.9 million people in the UK choosing to live together without getting married. Cohabiting couple families are the fastest growing type of household in the country and many believe that they are protected under common law marriage, however, this is not the case.
Nobody likes to imagine their relationship ending, sadly, however, it does happen.
The bad news for those who believe their assets and interests are protected by ‘common law marriage’ is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve lived together for a matter of months or for many years, there are no laws to dictate how couples who are cohabiting should split their assets in the event of a separation.
As a result, a relationship breakdown can cause serious financial complications as well as emotional stress.
If you do separate, then all is not lost. In some scenarios, assets may be divided even if you are not married.
The first scenario is where you share assets with your ex-partner. If you are a joint owner of property whether big or small, you will be entitled to your share.
How big a share you get will be determined by how both of you agreed to own the property in the first place when it was purchased.
For example if an item was bought on finance then both cohabitants will have documented proof that they share joint ownership of a product or item.
On other occasions communications such as letters, emails and texts can be used to establish who has ownership of the items or property.
Any proceedings that are needed to determine disputed shares in property and decide whether it should be sold or not, can prove very expensive for both parties.
To try and avoid this situation and extra expense, cohabitees should always try to ensure that there is a clear agreement in place from the outset as to who owns what, for example when the property is purchased.
This can be done by consulting one of our conveyancing law solicitors who can help you create a transfer document or a more detailed declaration of trust.
If a former cohabitee holds assets solely in their name that you believe you are also entitled to, it can be very difficult to a pursue a claim.
One way to simplify the claim and ensure you receive the assets you believe you are entitled to, is to prove that the asset was acquired for the benefit of both the cohabitee and yourself.
If you have made a direct contribution to the asset, this can sometimes be enough, however, if your contribution is an indirect one, for example, paying towards your household bills or caring for joint children, this will rarely be enough secure the asset.
If you separate from the partner who you share children with you may be able to claim a lump sum on behalf of the children to cover the purchase of essentials such as baby equipment or a car, however, claims of this nature are comparatively rare.
You may also apply for a settlement of property. This is essentially a purchase or transfer of property that will allow you to provide a home for your children whilst they are under 18 years of age.
A settlement of property will enable you to temporarily use your partner’s money share of a property for a specified length of time, after that time they will be entitled to recover their share.
Finally, you will be able to claim child maintenance for the children who are living with you if the cohabitee is the parent of the child or children.
How much you will be entitled to will be based on your overall gross income. In order to estimate how much child maintenance you may be eligible for, you can use a calculator provided by the Government by clicking here.
As we mentioned earlier, cohabiting doesn’t give you the same rights as a married couple and therefore there are several things that you will not be entitled to where married couples will be.
The first is maintenance. True you will be able to apply for maintenance payments for your children, but you will not be able to claim for maintenance for yourself, even if you have given up work to care for your children.
You will also be ineligible to claim a share of your partner’s pension or assets (excluding what has been discussed above).
Should you live a long and happy life with your partner and the separation is only caused by their death you may not be guaranteed a share of their estate unless they have made a Will which includes you.
Should your partner forget to include you in their Will, or worse still not make a Will at all, you could face expensive and lengthy claims against the estate.
Whilst cohabitees aren’t afforded the protection that married couples are, there are still measures that can be taken to protect the interest of both cohabitants as we have outlined above.
If you would like to learn more about what you can do to protect the interests of you and your partner then please call us for free on 0800 1979 345 today to arrange an initial consultation.
A member of our family law team will be happy to help you explore your options and help you begin any legal processes that can ensure you are protected in the future.
This website privacy notice sets out how Thorneycroft Solicitors uses and protects any information that you give Thorneycroft Solicitors when you use this website.
Thorneycroft Solicitors is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.
Thorneycroft Solicitors may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 01/05/2018.
What we collect
We may collect the following information:
We will collect the information directly from you via completion of our enquiry form on the website.
What we do with the information we gather
We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:
We will also collect and process your personal data if you have consented to receiving marketing in respect of our services. You are able to unsubscribe or withdraw your consent at any time by emailing [email protected] or writing to ‘Marketing’ at Thorneycroft Solicitors, 9a Bridge Street Mills, Bridge Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK11 6QA.
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.
If you do not instruct us in relation to your legal matter, your personal details will be retained for a period of 12 months.
If we are instructed in relation to your legal matter, we will keep it in line with our data retention periods. Details of our retention period for your legal matter can be found within our Client Care Letter and/or Terms of Business, under the heading file retention.
Links to other websites
Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.
You can set preferences for how Google advertises to you using the Google Ad Preferences page, and if you want to you can opt out of interest-based advertising entirely by cookie settings or permanently using a browser plugin.×