Where a cohabiting couple separate, each cohabitant has the potential to make a claim for financial provision against the other cohabitant for a period of up to one year following separation.

Many cohabiting couples wish to regulate in advance of setting up home together the arrangements which will apply in the event of their separation. For example, it may be decided to preclude all claims by each party against the other in the event of separation, or it may be necessary to make arrangements with regard to how the proceeds of sale of the family home should be divided, particularly where one party has contributed a greater share of the equity than the other.

Approach to Cohabitation Cases

The approach to cohabitation cases is different to divorce, and governed by separate legislation. It is important to bear in mind that strict timelines apply and early advice is essential. In cases where cohabitants separate, a claim for financial provision is effectively a compensation claim, on the basis that one of you has suffered an economic disadvantage in the interests of the other partner or a child of the relationship, or that one partner has enjoyed an economic advantage as a result of the other partner’s contributions.

The Death of a Cohabitant

The legislation which introduced claims for cohabitants upon separation extends to the situation where one cohabitant dies while still living together with the other cohabitant. Providing that the deceased has died intestate (i.e. without making a Will), the survivor may make a claim for an award from the deceased's estate. Any such claim must be formally instigated to the court within six months of the deceased's death.

It is essential that any potential applicant should contact us as soon as possible because, again, time is of the essence in cohabitation cases.

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