When a couple have married and their relationship breaks up, the financial claims that they can bring as a result of their divorce are clearly set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1975 and include lump sum provision, periodical payments orders (known as spousal maintenance), property transfers, pension sharing etc. However, if you are not married you do not have the right to bring these claims under the Matrimonial Causes Act and neither do you ever acquire any common law rights as a husband or wife that ever gives rise to such rights as many people wrongly believe.
Therefore, when you face a breakup in a cohabitation relationship, you may find that you have no clear idea as to what your rights are. If you are not on the legal title to the property in which you live, you could find yourself with limited or no rights of occupation. However, if you have contributed to the mortgage repayments or improvements/maintenance of the property, you may have acquired a financial interest by virtue of these payments.
However, whether you do have a financial interest or not is determined by reference to a very complicated area of equitable law which requires highly specialist advice. If you are forced to issue court proceedings, your claims will be dealt with under the Trusts of Land and appointment of Trustees Act (Tolata) which is again very complicated and can be extremely expensive, often involving specialist Civil Litigation Barristers to advise and represent you in Court.
Similarly, if you are a sole legal owner and you end a relationship, you may find yourself being threatened with a Tolata claim by your ex. If so, you will need to receive urgent legal advice from a family law specialist who will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your ex partner’s claims for a financial interest in your property.
If you have had a child or children and are the main carer but not the legal owner of the property, you may be in desperate need of advice regarding whether you can remain in the property with the child or children and what financial support you can expect from the other parent after separation.
If your relationship breaks up and you have no Cohabitation or Living Together Agreement to fall back on, you need to urgently find out what your legal rights are by seeking guidance from a specialist family law firm such as ours.
Any of the team are qualified to provide you with the detailed advice that you need in this complicated area of law and can also act on your behalf in conducting sensible and amicable negotiations with your ex in the hope of resolving the issues by agreement rather than litigation. They will also explore with you other means of resolving the dispute such as family arbitration, mediation or round table meetings.
You may wish to click on our link for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to learn more about the different approaches that we take to find a solution for you which avoids the need for court proceedings and cuts down on the timescale for resolving the dispute.