The law relating to unmarried couples is complex and often misunderstood. Anyone living together should seek legal advice on how to protect their interests. We can advise on:
If a home is held in one partner's name, the other partner does not have the right to continue to occupy it. They may be able to claim a share of the proceeds of the property on a sale, however, depending on whether they have reached an agreement with their partner and whether they have contributed to the value.
For cohabiting couples, who jointly own property, the landmark case of Kernott and Jones is a cautionary tale! In this case a Judge decided that Mr Kernott still owned 50% of the property, even though he had moved out 17 years previously, without making any further contributions to the property or the mortgage.
We can draw up binding agreements to set out a couple’s financial responsibilities to each other and their shares in joint property.
Unmarried partners have no rights for maintenance or capital sums from their partner on the relationship ending. The partner who cares for any child of the relationship can seek maintenance on the child’s behalf through the Child Support Agency. They may also be able to claim capital sums for the child's benefit through the court.
An unmarried partner does not automatically inherit their partner's estate. It is therefore essential that unmarried couples make mirroring wills to ensure that they have control over what happens to their estate once one of them passes.
When a relationship breaks down, it can be a difficult time for the whole family. The parties involved may not know where to turn and the confusion can cause a lot of stress. Whilst it is sometimes necessary to take matters to court, the parties may be able to resolve relationship issues through less formal means — often through mediation.
Anne Thistlethwaite, specialist Family Lawyer at AMD Solicitors considers the implications of a recent court decision.
As the government plans to encourage separating couples to consider methods of dispute resolution rather than resorting to court proceedings, Alison Dukes, Specialist Family Solicitor with AMD Solicitors and a trained Collaborative Lawyer explains how an alternative approach to relationship breakdown may be right for you.