How to support your claims when settling cohabitation disputes
When a cohabitation relationship breaks down, disputes can arise and ownership of property or assets becomes a problem. However, proving your interest in a property isn’t always difficult but certainly can be.
Contrary to popular belief, cohabiting couples are not entitled to the same legal rights as married couples and do not as easily obtain rights in relation to properties in which they cohabited.
However, there are ways that you can assure you receive what you are entitled to. Discover below the ways in which you can support your claims during cohabitation disputes.
Properties in joint names
Is the property registered in joint names?
The first port of call when dealing with a cohabitation dispute is to assess how the property is held by the parties. In a large proportion of cases disputes arise in relation to jointly owned properties and what should happen to that property when the relationship breaks down.
Interests in jointly owned properties are certainly easier to prove than where your name is not on the property register. Abacus’s specialist cohabitation solicitors would obtain documents from the Land Registry and consider how the property is held and what proportion of the property you hold. They would then advise you as to how to progress your dispute in most time and cost efficient manner.
To support any claim you wish to bring in relation to a jointly owned property you will need the title for the property, the transfer from when you purchased and then to value your share would need information as to the value of the property, details of any mortgage or charge outstanding and then detailed information as to the parties respective contributions following the end of the relationship. Who has paid the mortgage after the end of the relationship and who has resided at the property is often important.
Properties in one parties’ name
Do you have a cohabitation agreement?
A cohabitation agreement is simply a legally binding document that outlines how any property, assets or shared interests you own will be divided should your relationship breakdown.
These are usually entered into where the property is in one party’s name and another party is moving into the property. They document the interests of the parties and what is to happen upon the breakdown of the relationship.
If you signed a cohabitation agreement before cohabitating with your partner, this agreement will help to resolve any disputes.
Gather appropriate documents to resolve your dispute
If the property is registered under one name, the other cohabitant can claim that he or she has a beneficial interest in the property. This means that they are entitled to a share of its value – but sufficient evidence must be provided to support this.
There are certain documents to help you prove cohabitation claims should your relationship break down.
Whether you might have a claim is based on a number of factors particularly where there have been an express discussions about you having an interest in the property or whether the circumstances give rise to a possible interest being implied.
We detail some helpful evidence you could have below but note that documents in isolation are not always enough to prove an interest:
Bank statements or utility bills:
If you have paid towards the mortgage then any bank statements would assist in proving an interest., Utility bills in your name can also help to provide evidence of your contribution.
Mortgage applications or payment statements:
Mortgage applications or payment statements: If your name is on the mortgage application or any mortgage payment statements, this could help support your claim.
Council tax records:
As with the above documents, council tax records can help to prove your council tax contribution towards the property you shared with your cohabitation partner.
Purchase receipts and invoices:
If you have had any work done on the property, and the receipts of invoices are in your name and you can prove you paid for them, these documents could also help to support your claims and entitle you to a share.
Written communications between you and your partner:
In this day and age people regularly communicate by text, e-mail or Whatsapp (other apps are available). If you have messages between you and your partner which evidence an agreement that you have an interest in the property then this can be useful evidence.
Hire a specialist solicitor
Abacus Solicitors are a specialist cohabitation dispute solicitors, based in Manchester. We will help you put together your claim in best possible way and could lead to a better settlement or outcome for your claim.
Here at Abacus Solicitors, we have a dedicated cohabitation dispute team who can help you resolve your cohabitation disputes the right way. With branches in Warrington and Manchester, why not come along today to see how we can help? Alternatively, you can contact us by calling 0161 833 0044.