Cohabitation

Cohabitation Solicitors Glasgow & Paisley

More and more people are choosing to live together, without entering into a legal marriage or civil partnership. Whilst we hardly ever think about the problems that might arise should our relationship break down, there are a number of things to consider if you are living with a partner and are in legal terms a ‘cohabitee’ – a cohabitee is defined as someone living with another person as if they were a couple.  Under the Family Law Scotland Act 2006, a new legal framework has been introduced outlining the rights and responsibilities for those who wish to cohabit rather than marry or enter into a civil partnership. If you are cohabiting and have concern about your rights going forward, or your cohabiting relationship has come to an end, contact our specialist team to find out how we can help you.

Cohabitation (Living Together), Law in Scotland

Under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006, cohabitees have the right to certain financial provision after the relationship comes to an end, either through the breakdown of the relationship or one of the parties passes away. These rights are not the same as those parties to a marriage or civil partnership, and the relationship does not amount to ‘common law marriage’. This usually happens where the person claiming has made payments or contributions towards mortgages or other expenses but the property was owned by the other party.

If you wish to apply for financial provision after cohabitation, you should make an application to the court within one year of the end of the cohabitation. The court may then order a capital sum to be paid by one cohabitee to the other.

The court will take into account whether one party has been at an economic disadvantage as a result of the cohabitation, in the interests of their former partner or their child.  In addition, the court will also take into account any economic advantage experienced by your former partner as a result of any contributions you have made.

A former cohabitee may make a claim for child support, and can now also claim for a one-off capital payment to assist with the financial cost of raising a child. The court may make provision in respect of the future cost of taking care of any children of the cohabitants which will be separate to child maintenance. Although this amount may be paid in instalments, it cannot be varied if circumstances change.

When making a decision as to whether one cohabitee will be required to make financial provision to another, there are two presumptions held by the court which may need to be overturned.

Firstly, there is a presumption that each of the cohabitants will divide equally among them any household goods acquired during the cohabitation. Any gifts or inheritance from a third party are exempt from this presumption, and household goods do not include cars, domestic animals or cash.

The second presumption is of equal shares in cash or property derived from any allowance made by either party for their joint household expenses. However, this does not include property purchased for the cohabitants to live in. If you purchase property together as cohabitees, you should very carefully consider how title to the property is taken. One of our specialist solicitors can advise you more fully on this matter. You might also consider entering into a cohabitation contract in order to limit the effect of some of the outlined issues. 

Family Lawyers Glasgow & Paisley

If you are entering into cohabitation with your partner, or if a period of cohabitation with a former partner has come to an end, we can help.

We can advise and draft a cohabitation agreement to make sure that if relations with your partner break down, the financial implications of this breakdown will not cause you difficulty. Whilst no one ever likes to think about a relationship breaking down, a cohabitation agreement can be a useful means of ensuring both parties can walk away from the relationship in a fair financial position.

We can also provide you with advice and assistance after cohabitation has ended, to ensure that your receive financial compensation where you are entitled to this. We have years of experience in assisting couples in Glasgow, Paisley and the surrounding areas bring cohabitation to an amicable end where possible. Our friendly and empathetic team will always advise in your best interests, and will treat your circumstances with respect and confidentiality. Our Lawyers appear regularly before the Sheriff Courts in Glasgow, Paisley and Greenock and also the Children’s Panel, so you can feel confident in our ability to assist you with your case. Contact our family law team today to find out how we can help you.

Rights of Cohabitees on Death, Scotland

If one party dies without leaving a will, then their cohabitee may, within 6 months of their partner’s death, make an application to the court for a payment from the deceased’s estate. We strongly recommend making a will if you are currently living with your partner. Only a carefully drafted will can ensure that your wishes are upheld after you pass away and that your partner and any of their children are adequately provided for.

Right to Financial Provision when the Cohabitation Ends

Within one year of the ending of the cohabitation, an ex-cohabitee may make a claim for a sum of money. This usually happens where the person claiming has made payments or contributions towards mortgages or other expenses but the property was owned by the other party. This can also be the case where one party has given up working to look after a child during cohabitation.

Claiming for the Cost of Looking After a Child

Not only can a former cohabitee make a claim for child support, they can now also claim for a one-off capital payment to assist with the financial cost of raising a child.

Nowadays, although the law protects many more people in relationships than before, people who move in together are often unaware of their rights and obligations under the Act. We strongly recommend entering into a cohabitation agreement before moving in together. These agreements unequivocally set out the terms of the financial relationship and any claims arising should the relationship end.

Cohabitation Lawyers Glasgow and Paisley, Scotland

We strongly recommend entering into a cohabitation agreement before moving in together. These agreements unequivocally set out the terms of the financial relationship and any claims arising should the relationship end.

Our aim is to provide a high level of client satisfaction and we are proud to have a high level of client retention and repeat business. Our family lawyers have represented generations of clients throughout Paisley, Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Dennistoun, East end and beyond. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

For more information on your rights as a cohabitee, or on making a financial claim at the end of cohabitation, call us on 0141 887 5181 for our Paisley branch or 0141 551 8185 for our Glasgow branch or click here to get in touch.

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Paisley: 0141 887 5181

Glasgow: 0141 551 8185