For those individuals who choose to live with their partner without getting married or enter into a Civil Partnership, there are many misunderstandings and misconceptions about the status of each party in a cohabiting relationship and about their rights and obligations in relation to each other. Many believe that there is such a thing as 'Common Law Marriage', when in fact there is not.
As cohabitees, there is no special status afforded by the courts to you and each case turns on its own facts as to the obligations, which you and your partner have to each other.
Usually, it is the property owned between you and your partner that is the main capital asset that you have. The court will apply rules taking into account your intention at the time of the purchase, and the contribution each party has made to the purchase or renovation of the property in deciding the nature and extent of the beneficial interest that you or your partner may have.
At Specters our family law team will need to evaluate the evidence you have available in order to prove your interest; this may be documents, photographs or correspondence alongside witness statements from relatives, business associates or friends who are aware of the situation.
When cohabitees separate, there is no obligation on either party to pay maintenance although there may be a claim made for maintenance on behalf of children of the family. We will advise you promptly of your own rights in relation to the property and what steps you will need to take to substantiate those claims.
If you are concerned about your status and still cohabiting, it is possible for us to draw up a 'Cohabitation Agreement', to evidence your intentions going forward. We may advise that property be placed in joint names (if in one party's sole name), that Wills be made, and other steps be taken to ensure the wellbeing of all parties, including any children, moving forward. In addition, there are disputes that can arise between friends who live together or family members.