In the case of cohabiting or formerly cohabiting couples, your financial claims are much more limited compared to married couples and will extend to property only. If a property is jointly owned, then upon separation one party can apply to court to seek an order for the sale of the property if the other party is unwilling to agree to it. In some circumstances, it may be possible to seek more than an equal division of the equity, for example if one party has made a greater financial contribution to the property.
Even if the property is owned in one party’s name, the other party may be able to establish an equitable claim to the property rather than a legal one based on a two ways. First of all, if the party without a legal interest has made a financial contribution or contributions to the property i.e. by helping to pay for the mortgage each month or by paying for extensive renovations, this could help to establish their claim to a share of the equity. Alternatively, if no financial contribution has been made by the party without a legal interest in the property, they may still be able to establish a claim to a share of the equity based on discussions or a course of conduct held during their relationship with the other party whereby they were given cause to believe they’d acquire an interest in the property.
In the case of someone who is going to remain primarily responsible for their children, they may be able to apply to court for financial provision for the benefit of those children whilst they are minors i.e. until they attain the age of 18 years. This can include applying for the property to be transferred to them, subject to their ability to afford the outgoings on that property, and /or for specific lump sum payments i.e. to furnish a property or to buy items for the children, such as computers etc.
Also upon separation, the party who is assuming the primary care of the children will be entitled to receive child maintenance payments from the other party. These are calculated in accordance with the Child Maintenance Service guidelines.
We know how difficult divorce and separation can be, so we offer an initial one hour fixed fee consultation with a fully qualified lawyer, to help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.
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