Cohabitation and co-ownership of property by unmarried couples is now common place. The consequences of such a relationship breaking down does not however necessarily come within the jurisdiction of the family court, especially if there are no children.
Despite common misconceptions, there is no statutory regime to deal with the rights of cohabitants and the financial consequences of home share breakdown. Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as a married couple. The reality of the legal position is in fact very different, with a cohabitant having no right to financial support and sometimes no right to the shared property. Cohabitants often have to rely on strict contractual and property law principles.
The most common questions to be resolved between former cohabitants are what share of the property they own, whether they can realise that share and whether they can force a sale of the property. When it comes to determining how a property should be shared, the law will however generally take a ‘who put what in’ kind of approach, rather than the ‘who needs what’ approach often taken by family law.
The starting point in determining what, if any, share of the property a former cohabitant is entitled to, is to consider the way in which it is owned.
If you require advice about your property interests, whether as a cohabitant, a co-owner or otherwise, we should be able to help you. If you require assistance with such matters, then please do not hesitate to contact T G Baynes on 0208 301 7777 or alternatively e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.