Unmarried Couples Disputes

Many people wrongly assume that if they live with a partner for long enough, they become a common law spouse and that therefore they gain the same rights as a married person.

In fact, there is no such thing as a common law husband or wife. The law that applies in disputes between unmarried couples is very different to the law that applies in divorces and dissolutions. The Court’s powers to divide assets between an unmarried former couple are far more restricted and inflexible than the power that it has to divide assets in a divorce.

Property disputes between unmarried couples can be about what is to happen to a jointly owned house or how the sale proceeds are to be divided. If the house is solely owned by one party, the dispute is usually about whether or not the other party has gained an interest in the property.

Disputes can also arise between former partners where one makes a claim for a share of the assets for the benefit of their children.

Armstrong Family Law can advise and represent you in relation to these disputes to ensure that you achieve the best possible outcome. This includes:

  • negotiating an agreement and formalising it in a written Deed of Separation (also known as a separation agreement)
  • referring you to a mediator and advising you throughout the mediation process and on any proposed agreement
  • resolving the dispute using family arbitration
  • resolving the dispute using collaborative law
  • if you are considering moving in with someone, you may wish to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement (also known as a Living Together Agreement) so that you can carefully define what happens about your finances if your relationship ends.

Armstrong Family Law abides by the Resolution Code of Practice.

Not sure if your relationship is over? Help is available here from Relate.

Read our blogs about the need for reform of the law on cohabitation here.

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