Unfortunately, when relationships breakdown it can result in disputes arising in relation to the occupation, ownership and the sale of property. Each relationship is different which is why it is important that you obtain expert advice on your situation.
Most commonly, situations arise for unmarried couples who live together, known as cohabitants, who have separated and wish to either sell the property, or one party wishes to “buy out” the other person’s share of the property. You may consider you are entitled to more than 50% of the share of the property and we will need to review the title deeds on the property to advise you. If parties are unable to settle property disputes between themselves, or through negotiation with their solicitor, the court can make a decision as to who the legal and beneficial owners of the property are and in what proportions they own the property.
This type of claim is not related to matrimonial law and cohabitants do not have the same rights in terms of property claims as married couples or civil partners. It is a commonly held myth that when a couple live together for a certain amount of time that they subsequently attain a ‘common law marriage’, but this is incorrect. This also means that these types of property claims are not limited to couples and can apply to relatives or anyone else who may have an interest in a property.
You should also consider obtaining legal advice upon separation if you have lived with your partner in their home and contributed towards renovating their property or towards the mortgage repayments. You need to know whether you are entitled to any of the equity in the property which is known as a beneficial interest.
By contacting Sweeney Miller, we can go through the discussions you and your partner had in relation to the property and whether you can establish that interest.
There are a number of considerations made by court including the intentions of the parties, the purposes of the trust of land, whether there are any welfare issues (such as any children living in the property) and the interests of any secured beneficiary. Generally, the court will look to settle the claim in the fairest way and will try and achieve justice in its decision making but it will, of course, only act within its powers to do so. The court will consider all of the relevant factors when making their decision.
That said, at Sweeney Miller, we try and achieve the best result for you without the need to involve the court as this should be a last resort. Our main priority is to help you to move on with your life to start again.
As the division of property in this type of claim is based on each individual’s financial contribution, you will need to provide us with financial disclosure to prove the contributions you have made towards the property if this is in dispute. So that we can start working on your case straight away, we recommend that you gather all of the relevant documentation to support your position so that we can review them and advise you. Alternatively, if you would firstly like a discussion about your potential interest in a property, we can arrange an initial consultation with you for a fixed fee.