Living together before marriage – “We’ll never split up!”

By Laura Ousby Solicitor

Living together as “husband and wife” without marrying does not present the same legal rights as marriage, particularly on separation. When couples move in together they think that it will be forever and they will never separate.  After all, it isn’t very romantic to think that one day it may end. The reality is, however, that many cohabiting couples do separate and what they think will happen to the house often does not.

If you live with your partner or are considering moving in together, you need to be aware of the legal implications of separating in the future.

If the house is in both your name and your partner’s name then following separation you are both likely to be entitled to a 50% share even if one of you made a greater financial contribution when the property was purchased, unless a separate written agreement was drawn up at the time of purchase setting out that you have unequal shares in the property.

If the house is only owned by one of you i.e. your name or your partner’s name is on the title deeds, then following separation the house will belong to whoever’s name is on those title deeds and will generally be free from claim by the other party.  If the other party wanted to make a claim against the property they would have to show a common intention of the parties as to the ownership of the property i.e. a common intention that they have an interest and that they acted to their detriment on this basis.

It is advisable to take legal advice when thinking about moving in together.  This can save a lot of money and problems if the relationship doesn’t work out.  So if you are living with your partner/thinking about moving in with them or if you have separated from your partner (it may not be too late) – it is worth getting in touch …

If you need any advice or would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please call now and speak to Laura in our Family Team on 01228 516666 or alternatively click here to email Laura direct.

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