There is a very high number of couples who consider that their rights and entitlements will be covered in the same manner as if they were married. This is not the case and it is important to ensure you seek independent expert legal advice.
If you are in a relationship and unmarried, you may not fully appreciate the legal ramifications of such an arrangement and the impact it can have on your legal and financial entitlements. This is often referred to as the common law marriage myth. This type of arrangement is often referred to as cohabitation. We can assist you with your rights and entitlements if you are not married (or in a civil partnership) and cohabit with your partner. This area of law can often involve complex trust law aspects and we can support you every step of the way – be it to help secure your assets or to assist you during any disputes.
Cohabitation Agreement & Deeds of Trust
First and foremost, for those who seek to plan ahead, we can assist you with drafting a legally binding cohabitation agreement. This would be a legally binding document setting out your legal and financial obligations to one and another – this is especially useful should the relationship breakdown in the future. The overall aim is to prevent and reduce unnecessary disputes, doubt, and costs in the event of a relationship breakdown.
Property – TOLATA Claims
The law is considered under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) and such proceedings are often complex and costly. This is a common issue that arises between cohabiting couples and seeks to deal with the property, considering aspects such as regulating the occupation of a property (i.e. who lives within the property) or ordering the sale or partitioning of any property. This also deals with the common disputes of a declaration of the extent of interest you or your partner have in a property.
This can arise in various scenarios, i.e. if the property is owned in one party’s name but the other has made financial contributions and seeks an interest within the property, or if you have purchased the property together but one of you has provided a larger financial contribution (which has not been appropriately secured), or in another example, if your relationship has broken down and you seek an order enforcing the sale of the property.
We can assist you by attempting to agree on the matters without the need for costly proceedings and can utilise our expertise to attempt to reach a settlement accordingly. In the event that the matters become litigated, we have access to an excellent team of experts to try to assist you to achieve the outcome you deserve.
Children – Schedule 1 proceedings
This area of law relates to Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 (CA 1989). The first point to mention is that the Child Maintenance Agency (‘CMA’) can be accessed to handle child maintenance payment issues. These types of matters normally arise in ‘high value’ cases. However, our clients who have an income of over £156,000 could face the scenario of having to make ‘top-up’ payments in relation to child maintenance. This is an application that is often progressed where the needs of the children cannot be sufficiently catered for and the individual is a high earner.
If you are the main carer for the children, you can also consider making such an application, where the financial resources are available, to seek for a home for you and the children, contribution towards school fees, financial funding for caring needs, i.e. vehicle – for the children’s needs.
Did you know that an unmarried father’s do not automatically achieve parental responsibility? We can help you with parental responsibility and child arrangement order issues. Please refer to our children’s law page for further information.