Financial claims for unmarried couples
The family team at Herrington Carmichael are experienced in dealing with all matters in relation to cohabitation.
Unmarried couples in England and Wales don’t have the same legal rights as those who are married or in a civil partnership. In some cases, it may be possible to make a financial claim against an ex-partner, however, this will depend on the circumstances.
We offer a free 15 minute consultation and then a meeting can be arranged in any of our London, Camberley or Wokingham offices.
How does an unmarried couple resolve a dispute?
If you are already in the midst of a dispute with ex-your partner about property that you both believe you own or have an interest in, we can advise you on the merits of your case and on your rights and potential claims you might have. We will try to deal with any dispute as swiftly and amicably as possible and advise you of the options and processes available to you to reach an agreement.
If there is an impasse in the negotiations, we can advise on the merits of making a claim under Trust of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (ToLATA). This legislation gives courts the power to determine disputes about who owns a property and in what shares, it also gives the court power to make an order that a property should be sold.
Where you do not have minor children, our family team will assist to try and bring the matter to a positive conclusion without instigating court proceedings. If it becomes clear that court proceedings will have to be issued, we will pass you to our specialist Dispute Resolution solicitors who have the expertise and knowledge to guide you through the court process and represent your interests.
Where you have minor children, our specialist team of family solicitors can assist you from start to resolution. It is usual to deal with financial claims for minor children at the same time as ToLATA claims – for more information please see our Financial Claims for Children page.
I purchased the property on my own. What can I do to prevent my Partner from having a claim over my property?
One option is to consider drawing up a cohabitation agreement to reflect which property is going to be retained by yourself if the relationship ends. Having a Cohabitation Agreement in place means that you have a formal agreement with your partner on how your finances will be managed whilst you are living together (For example, they can set out who contributed how much to the purchase price of the property, who makes mortgage repayments and who pays the household expenses) and how they will be dealt with in the event that you break up. The main aim is to avoid costly litigation if the relationship ends.
Talk to your partner. Once you have come to an agreement, each of you should make an appointment to see a solicitor separately. The solicitors can draft an agreement that you are both happy with and provide advice on the different options available to you. Your solicitor can also give you advice on how these agreements might be affected if you ever decide to get married.
My ex-partner believes that they have an interest in a property that I own on my own. We lived there together for some time but have now separated. What can I do?
The law generally views that were one party holds a property in their sole name that is a correct reflection of the legal status of the ownership of that property. However, it is possible for the other party to assert they have acquired a beneficial interest in the property may way of contribution or because they have acted to their detriment. Quantifying that interest can be a complex exercise and it is important to take advice early on.
Free 15-minute consultation
Request a video call or phone call with one of our family law experts...
Family Law Specialists
- All departments
- Agricultural Law
- Co Co - Recovery & Insolvency
- Co Co Corporate Governance
- Co Co Corporate lending
- Co Co Financial Services
- Co Co Franchising
- Co Co GDPR
- Co Co in-house legal support
- Co Co International Contracts
- Co Co M&A's
- Co Co MBOs & MBIs
- Co Co Partnership and LLPs
- Co Co Regulatory, Compliance & Competition
- Co Co Shareholders Agreements
- Co Co Terms and Conditions
- Co Co- Intellectual Property
- CoCo - Banking and Finance
- CoCo - New Businsess
- CoCo Competition Law
- CoCo Consumer Law
- CoCo Data Protection - Marketing
- CoCo Data, IT & Technology
- Commercial Law
- Commercial Property
- Corporate & Commercial
- Corporate Law
- Debt Recovery
- Dispute Resolution
- Disputes - Business
- Disputes - Declarations of trust
- Disputes - Probate and inheritance
- Disputes - Professional negligence
- Disputes - Restrictive Covenants
- Disputes - Shareholders & Partnership
- Disputes - Tenants in Residential Property
- Disputes - Wills, trusts & probate disputes
- Disputes and Small Claims
- Disputes Construction
- Disputes with Co-owners
- Employee - Termination
- Employee Share Schemes
- Employer - Termination
- Employment - Business protection
- Employment - Collective consultations
- Employment - Contracts, services, consultancy
- Employment - Employee benefits
- Employment - Employee Procedures
- Employment - Equality, discrimination and harassment
- Employment - Family Friendly Rights
- Employment - GDPR and Data Protection
- Employment - Post employment obligations
- Employment - Redundancy & Reorganisation
- Employment - Settlement Agreements
- Employment - Tribunal Claims
- Employment - TUPE
- Employment - Wages, holiday and sick pay
- Employment - Workers rights
- Employment Tribunal claims
- Estate Administration
- Expat Legal Services
- Family Law
- Financial Services
- Help to Buy
- Immigration law
- International Legal Services
- Key Property Contacts
- Land and Property Disputes
- Land, development and construction
- Lasting Powers of Attorney
- Licensing Law
- Money, Tax and Inheritance
- New Build Conveyancing
- Private Wealth and Inheritance
- Professional Negligence
- Property Finance
- Property Law
- Residential Property
- Residential Property - Completions
- Residential Property - Shared Ownership
- Wills, Trusts & Probate
Latest News & Insights
Enter your email address for legal updates on Private Client & Family Law.
Award winning legal advice
We are solicitors in Camberley, Wokingham and London. In 2019, Herrington Carmichael won ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ at the Thames Valley Business Magazines Property Awards, ‘Best Medium Sized Business’ at the Surrey Heath Business Awards and we were named IR Global’s ‘Member of the Year’. We are ranked as a Leading Firm 2022 by Legal 500 and Alistair McArthur is ranked in Chambers 2021.