Unmarried Couples and Cohabitation Issues
When a relationship breaks down
If a couple has lived together but are not married it can be difficult to know what the position is in relation to their finances when they separate.
Unlike married couples, the law does not automatically give co-habiting couples rights or entitlements. It can be the case, for example, that a couple can live together for 25 years and when they separate one can be left with nothing.
However, complications can arise in the following instances:
- where there are jointly owned assets; or
- assets owned by one that the other has contributed to; or
- assets owned by one and the other has been promised a share of that asset and the person promised the share acts to his or her detriment.
In such cases a couple may have to share the assets in a way that does not reflect the strict legal ownership of them.
This area of law is notoriously complicated and specialist legal advice must be taken. Often such cases can turn on the smallest of details in the history of the relationship.
Hall Brown has the experience to take that history, consider those details and guide you through the process to secure an entitlement you might have or protect an asset being pursued.
Before you move in with someone
For most people, moving in together is a big decision. One of the most difficult parts of that decision is what happens in relation to their finances.
Some people worry that if they own assets and someone moves in with them they will have to share those assets if the relationship breaks down. Others will be selling their home to move in with someone and are worried what the position will be if they subsequently break up.
Although co-habiting couples do not have automatic rights in the way married couples do, moving in together can give rise to financial claims or entitlements and can cause complications.
A co-habitation agreement can provide the couple with a degree of certainty. As long as both parties are independently advised and understand what they are agreeing to, such an agreement can be an incredibly useful tool if the relationship breaks down. It can provide certainty and a clear route to independence as opposed to having to engage in uncertain and costly litigation.
Co-habitation agreements are very familiar to the team, with our focus being on working with the couple as opposed to pursuing one party’s interests at the cost of the relationship.