Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a ‘common law husband or wife’. Unmarried couples have different legal rights and responsibilities to married couples.
In divorce proceedings a judge has discretion in relation to finances to be fair and reasonable, but unmarried couples are bound by strict property law principals. This can result in great unfairness and hardship when unmarried couples separate. So it’s important that unmarried couples consider precisely what they intend in relation to finances when they set up home together, in the event of separation.
The mere fact that one party has made contributions financially towards a property does not give them automatic requisition in that property. The court will look back at the documentation at the time the property was acquired which should be clear as to respective interests. Any intention to vary this should be dealt with in a written cohabitation agreement to avoid potentially extremely expensive and often fruitless litigation.
Please ask about cohabitation agreements which can be arranged for a fixed fee.
To talk to a member of our family team in confidence about divorce or to arrange a no obligation initial consultation.