Financial Claims for Unmarried Couples
How can we help?
Your marital status will have a significant impact on your rights, financial claims and obligations on separation. Contrary to popular belief, the concept of ‘common law marriage’ does not exist in the UK and thus separating couples who are not married or in a civil partnership will have exceedingly limited rights, which can often result in the financially weaker party being left with little to no financial provision.
What are you entitled to?
In most cases, your financial claims on separation are limited to claims made under Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. The starting point will be the legal ownership of any property. You may feel there are reasons why you or your former partner should have a greater or lesser share than is provided for at the Land Registry, or, if you are not on the title of the property you may have reasons to think you have acquired an interest. Alternatively, you may simply want to sell the property you own jointly with your ex-partner, but they disagree. Our expert family lawyers are able to advise on all these issues and explain in simple terms the nature of any trust (both constructive and resulting) that can give rise to a beneficial interest. In all cases we can assist in negotiating a transfer or a sale and a consequent division of the proceeds. Where it becomes necessary, we can also advise you in relation to court proceedings to the same end.
Financial Provision for Children
If you have children, the parent who has the children most often (usually referred to as the Primary Carer) will be able to make a claim for child maintenance. Save in exceptional circumstances, the Child Maintenance Service (formerly the Child Support Agency) deals with claims for child maintenance. If the paying parent lives in another country, or is a very high earner, the court can make an order for child maintenance.
In addition to child maintenance, there may be claims for a lump sum for essential purchases or for providing a home. These can be made under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989 and must be for the benefit of the child(ren). These are very complex cases, which require a detailed analysis of finances and an excellent understanding of the relevant law. Our exceptional lawyers are able to advise on the strength of any claim for financial provision for children and support you throughout the process of agreeing a settlement or, if necessary, litigating your matter in court.