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Cohabitation & Separation Solicitors Glasgow

More and more, couples are choosing to live together for long periods of time, with no plans to get married, this is known legally as cohabiting. As the numbers of couples cohabiting increased, the Scottish Government decided that these individuals should be offered protection under the law. The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 made changes in the law that meant individuals who choose to live together as couples without getting married were protected.

Section 28 of the act introduced the right of either party to make a claim against the other partner in the result of separation. The rights of cohabitees are modelled on those offered to married couples, however, there are still differences with less protection offered to cohabiting couples vs those who are married. Important considerations must be made when living as a cohabiting couple, and some planning can make a big difference to your future. Whether you are already cohabiting, or are looking at moving in with your partner, contact one of our family law solicitors today for advice on your legal position.

Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 explained

The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 offers limited financial provision to cohabitants whose relationships have ended, whether by breakdown or death. While cohabitants are protected under the Family Law Act, it is important to remember that they are nowhere near as protected as married couples, and there is no such thing as a common law ‘husband’ or ‘wife’.

As long as an application is made to the court within one year of the end of the cohabitation, a court has the power to order a capital sum which is paid by one cohabitant to another. This sum can be paid in instalments, or all at once. The court will take into consideration a number of factors, such as whether the applicant has suffered an economic disadvantage because of their former partner, or child (including children accepted as a child of the family), or if one partner has gained an economic advantage thanks to contributions, financial or non-financial, made by the other partner.

The court also has the power to pay a specific amount, covering future economic burden which may come around as the result of taking care of children of one of the cohabitants. This provision does not include living costs which are already covered by child maintenance. It can however be used to cover expenses such as school care. Although the sum can be paid in instalments, it cannot be changed if circumstances change.

Two presumptions are made, which can be overturned when the circumstances of the case are taken into consideration. The first presumption is that each cohabitant will get an equal share of any household goods which have been acquired, discounting any gifts or items which have been inherited. Household goods does not cover cars, domestic animals or money.

The second presumption is that equal shares in either money or property which come from any allowance which is made by either of the parties for their joint household expenses. This excludes property which has been purchased for the cohabitants to reside in. It is important for couples to think carefully about how the title of a property is given if you are buying a property jointly. In this case you should consider whether you wish to create a cohabitation contract.

Couples who remain unmarried are not bound by law to pay maintenance to the other party in the event of a separation. This does not include money which might be paid for the maintenance of a child. There is also no provision available which allows the transfer of a property.

What services do we offer?

Cohabitation Agreements

A cohabitation agreement is a document which can help protect you and your assets in the event of the breakdown of your relationship. This agreement works in a similar manner to the pre-nuptial agreement in that it is agreed upon by both parties before any difficulties manifest. If you are interested in making a cohabitation agreement with your partner, speak to a member of our team today for a confidential, no-obligation chat.

Cohabitation & Separation

If you have recently separated from someone who you were in a cohabitation setup with, it is possible to make a financial claim. A claim must be made within strict time limits however, so it is important to make a claim as quickly as possible. The claim must be made within one year of the date on which the separation occurred, any failure to do this means that you will lose the right to make a claim entirely.

The law has been amended to allow separating cohabitees extra rights, and there have been some cases where individuals have received considerable sums of money. It has also been established that the length of time that partners have lived together does not have to have been particularly long in order to be recognised as cohabitees. Each case will be assessed on an individual basis, and the Court will look at the circumstances of each case.

Cohabitation & Inheritance

The Act also makes it possible for a partner of a cohabitee to make a financial claim in the case of death. Claims of this nature must be made within six months of the death of the partner. The laws of succession, when someone dies and hasn’t left a will, are yet to incorporate provisions for cohabitees, so it is important to make a claim quickly in this scenario. 

If you wish to protect your partner in the event of your death, it is important to write a will, this will help prevent large court fees, or undue stress. For those interested in having a will written, or wishing to make a claim contact a member of our experienced team today.

Contact our Cohabitation & Separation Lawyers Glasgow & Scotland

Our team are experts in family law, and have experience dealing with a number of Cohabitation & Separation cases. If you wish to make an enquiry about making a cohabitation agreement, or are looking to make a claim, contact us today on 0141 552 9193 , or make an online enquiry.

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