Cohabitation

Finances on Separation – It is a common myth that cohabiting couples have the status of common law husband or wife and the same rights as if they were married.

In England and Wales the rights given to cohabitees remain substantially limited to issues relating your children and your property. Whilst the starting point for a cohabiting couple is that you retain assets in your own name it may be possible to establish a beneficial interest in a property held in your cohabitee’s sole name or indeed more than a 50% share when a property is held in your joint names.

This area of law is notoriously complicated and we would urge you to take specialist advice if you are in any doubt as to your rights on separation if you are unmarried. The position may not be as straight forward as it seems and the team at Prince Family Law have extensive experience in dealing with claims to establish rights/interests in property whether in joint or sole names (under the Trust of Land Act or Trust Law generally).

It is possible to manage your arrangements prior to living together by entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. It is often the case that one person moves in to live with another person in a house they own with no initial intention of acquiring an interest in that property. If this is something you are considering it is important to take specialist advice to ensure that you protect your property and ensure that a beneficial interest cannot be established in your property by your cohabitee should you separate.

Financial Matters Between Cohabitees Relating to Children

Cohabitees do not have the same rights as married couples on divorce regarding children. Child maintenance must be dealt with by the Child Maintenance Service unless the non resident parent is a non UK tax payer or a maximum assessment has been carried out by the Child Maintenance Service. In those cases the resident parent can pursue periodical payments for the children under Schedule One of the Children Act 1989 through the Court process.

Schedule One of the Children Act can also be used by separated non married couples to claim Lump Sum Orders for specific items for example provision of a car, furnishing a property or to meet various items of expenditure. The Court can order a settlement of property or transfer or property to provide a home for your child during their dependency and other costs associated with your child for example school fees.

Whilst once considered an area of the law just for the wealthy as the number of couples cohabiting increases claims under Schedule One of the Children Act are considered a powerful tool for meeting your children’s needs regardless of wealth.

Our team at Prince Family Law have been involved in Schedule One Children Act cases at all levels to include two recent cases involving fathers who were extremely wealthy businessmen. Substantial awards were obtained for the resident parent with provision being made both for a home for the child, motor vehicles, furnishings, school fees and substantial periodical payments.

If you are unmarried and in any doubt as to your rights on separation please contact our experienced team and arrange a free 30 minute interview.

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Meet the Team

David Prince
David Prince
Managing Director / Solicitor

David founded Prince Family Law in 2005 having previously spent 17 years as a family law partner with a leading…

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Sarah Woodward
Sarah Woodward
Director / Chartered Legal Executive

Sarah has practiced family law since 1995 and trained at a large city practice. Sarah specialises in all aspects of …

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Lisa O’Connor
Lisa O’Connor
Director / Chartered Legal Executive

Lisa is a Chartered Legal Executive and Director of the firm. Lisa O’Connor joined Prince Family Law in 2008 having …

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Carey New
Carey New
Chartered Legal Executive

Carey has practised Family Law since 1999 and has a wealth of knowledge in all areas including financial settlements…

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Louise Butcher
Louise Butcher
Solicitor

Louise qualified in 2005 and has practised family law ever since. She has a depth of knowledge and experience …

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Claire McKenning
Claire McKenning
Chartered Legal Executive

Claire joined Prince Family Law in 2013 following 9 years at a prominent South Yorkshire Law firm, working at offices …
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Barrie Start
Barrie Start
Legal Cashier

Legal Cashier Barrie has worked in Chesterfield as an accounts manager for all of his working life. He is well known and highly regarded by …

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Zoe Barker
Zoe Barker
Personal Assistant / Secretary

Our highly experienced team of Personal Assistants/Secretaries have been with the firm for many years and offer a strong support network to our fee earners and clients.

Anna Miller
Anna Miller
Personal Assistant / Secretary

Our highly experienced team of Personal Assistants/Secretaries have been with the firm for many years and offer a strong support network to our fee earners and clients.

Helen Fletcher
Helen Fletcher
Personal Assistant / Secretary

Our highly experienced team of Personal Assistants/Secretaries have been with the firm for many years and offer a strong support network to our fee earners and clients.

Rachel Lamb
Rachel Lamb
Personal Assistant / Secretary

Our highly experienced team of Personal Assistants/Secretaries have been with the firm for many years and offer a strong support network to our fee earners and clients.