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Unmarried family breakdown

Marriage has become far less common than it used to be, with couples opting to live together – or cohabit – instead. But problems arise if the relationship breaks down and certain precautions were not taken.

Marriage can cost an obnoxious amount of money these days, leaving couples paying off masses of debt for years. Tradition is less important to people now than it ever was, and for many people the idea of gathering all of their family in one room for a day prompts feelings of dread. So it’s little wonder that people are opting to cohabit instead. Unfortunately, couples that cohabit have none of the rights that married couples have, and without a cohabitation agreement a relationship breakdown can become a long, drawn out battle.

The main element of any dispute is usually property, and without any cohabitation agreement the general rules of property and trust law are used to determine ownership and entitlement. So the starting point is who legally owns the property, and from this point any party wishing to make a claim on this property must show that they have a beneficial interest.

It might be that whilst a party does not appear on the deeds of the property, they contributed significant money towards the running of the property or renovations and can argue that they should have a share. Similarly it might have been discussed that both parties were treating the property as ‘shared’. Either way, nothing is certain when proceeding down this path.

Contact Inghams

We can advise you on your rights, your options and your best course of action if you are about to cohabit, are currently cohabiting or are seeking to break up a cohabitation arrangement. We can also help you with a cohabitation agreement. Give our family team a call or message us online to discuss your family law situation.