When looking at how to deal with the claims of any couple on divorce, the court (and a solicitor advising outside of the court process) is governed by section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. This lists the matters that the court has to take into account. At the top of the list is the needs of any child under 18 years, followed by the needs of the parties, the resources they each have jointly and separately, their ages, health, the length of the marriage and the standard of living they enjoyed together. The “sharing principle” is not found in this list but is a judicial gloss and a principle that can be quite strictly applied to marital assets.
There are significant differences in how the law deals with property depending on whether you are married or not. If you are not married, the law does not recognise you as a couple and this doesn’t change depending on how long you have lived together or if you have children. So, what are your options?
Disregard entirely the law relating to marital breakdown when it comes to cohabitation. The following are the principle misconceptions many people hold and need to be corrected …
What are my rights? This is the question most people caught up in family breakdown ask their solicitor. They are often quite frustrated at the answer!
Here we address what can be done to avoid problems when cohabiting parties separate. Note that there have not been any recent major changes of the law in this area. Cohabitees continue to have limited rights in comparison to married couples or those in a civil partnership.
In family cases, there is often a point at which outside expertise needs to be brought in. This could be to value the family home, to value a business or to advise on how to value and share the parties’ pension funds. What are the steps to achieve this and what do you need to think about?