Where parties have been living together and their relationship breaks down, many couples expect the courts to have the same powers to deal with property as married couples. Many people believe they acquire the legal status of “common law spouse”. Contrary to popular belief, however, English law does not recognise this concept. This means that where there is a relationship breakdown between cohabitants, they do not have the same legal remedies available to them as divorcing couples. For example, cohabitants are unable to make claims for maintenance or in respect of a pension.
If you are contemplating living together, it is imperative that you consider entering into a cohabitation contract (also known as a living together agreement) to clarify ownership of assets, contributions and rights and responsibilities in the future.
Considering such a contract can enable couples to discuss otherwise difficult issues. Many couples report that entering into a living together agreement actually improves their relationship, giving them an opportunity to talk through the long term financial implications of their life together. We appreciate that anticipating and pre-empting problems which could occur at the end of a relationship, when this is the furthest thing from your mind, can be difficult but drawing up such an agreement to regularise what will happen in this event can avoid substantial legal wrangling in the event that the relationship breaks down.
We also deal with the following:
- Defining the share/interests in the property
- Applications for sale in relation to the property
- Rights of occupation
- Applications under the Children Act regarding arrangements for children
- Applications under the Children Act for financial provision for children
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Alternatively, telephone us on 01992 892214 to make an appointment to discuss your circumstances and what options are available to you.
Townsend Family Law Solicitors in Essex, serving Essex and Hertfordshire including Epping, Harlow, Waltham Abbey, Hertford, Enfield, Loughton, Woodford and surrounding areas.