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Cohabitee disputes and separation: FAQ’s

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Q. My partner and I have decided to separate. My partner owns the property we live in and has told me he wants me to find somewhere else to live. Do I have any rights to the property?

A. As you are not married, any financial matters between you will be resolved by property law and trust law principles. You are not a legal owner of the property and you would therefore have to show that you have an interest in the beneficial ownership of the property under trust laws. If you can prove this you may be entitled to a share of the equity and possibly have a right to occupy the property as well. This is a difficult claim to prove and trust law is complex. You should consult a family solicitor who can advise you on your particular circumstances.

Q. My ex-partner and I own a property together which is registered in our joint names as joint tenants. I want the property to be sold so that I can move on but she is refusing to sell. Can I force her to sell?

A. As you are joint owners of the property, on the face of it you are entitled to an equal share of the equity in the property. You can force a sale of the property to realise your share by issuing court proceedings under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) to seek a court order that the property be sold. You can also ask for terms to be put in the order about how to manage the sale. We would strongly recommend you seek legal advice.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of cohabitation or separation, please contact our family law team on 01293 596900 to arrange a fixed fee appointment for £100 plus vat (£120).

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