Couples who separate after a period of living together (cohabitation) often need legal help to separate. This is a specialist area of work and we have the expertise and experience to help you.
Very often there is a dispute about ownership and / or occupation of the family home. The property can be held in joint names as joint tenants or tenants in common or in one party’s name only either absolutely or in trust. We can advise on these issues and what your claim is in the property. Strict Property Law applies in these cases and there are no special rights granted to cohabitees. Clients sometimes believe that they have special rights as a Common Law Wife or Husband but unfortunately these terms have no legal standing.
Very often there are other assets which also need to be dealt with following a separation from joint Bank accounts containing savings, perhaps a business which is jointly owned and sometimes jointly run to the contents of the house. Clients have sometimes been living together for many years and we can offer practical and sympathetic advice to sort out ownership and division of the various assets.
If the parties have children on separation we can advise if needed on the arrangements for the children particularly in respect of where the children will live (residence) and how often the children see the other parent (contact).
We will try and achieve a negotiated agreement on all of the above areas but in the event agreement cannot be reached we will apply to the Court for an Order to resolve the issues.
Sometimes following a separation the parent with whom the children will be living has nowhere to live and does not have sufficient capital or savings to purchase or rent another property. In some cases we can help by making an application under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989 for assistance with housing and other costs where there are children to be re-housed. We will advise you if we can do this in your case.
Living Together Agreements
We are proactive in trying to assist clients in protecting their assets before they start living together or purchase a property together. The aim of these agreements is to prevent problems occurring in the future. We can prepare living together agreements and / or Trust Deeds for clients which set out clearly and simply what the parties have agreed from the outset on how the assets will be dealt with in the event of a separation or death. These agreements can save a lot of time and money later on.
If you would like advice on any of the issues raised above we will be happy to arrange a meeting to discuss your case. Please note that the Family team will advise and assist you up to the point of court proceedings being issued should that be necessary, at which point, the matter will be referred to our Civil Litigation team.