LEGAL ADVICE IF YOU’RE THINKING OF LIVING TOGETHER
When couples decide to live together it is important to agree upon their financial rights and obligations towards each other and their home at the outset.
If a property is purchased in joint names but one party has made a greater financial contribution towards the purchase (for example by paying the deposit), legal steps should be taken at the time of purchase, or as soon as possible afterwards, to protect each person’s investment in the property and to clarify their shares.
Over the past few years, cohabitation has become more common with more and more couples choosing to live together before marriage. At the start of relationships, couples often overlook protecting their investments when purchasing properties together mainly because they trust their partners to do the right thing should the relationship break down in the future.
Regrettably, in those cases where protection was not obtained at the beginning of the relationship many cohabitees have lost their investments and received nothing or only 50% of the equity in the property, which is usually grossly unfair.
Other cohabitees, who have invested money in their partner’s property, but without the protection of a legal document, have also lost their investments upon the breakdown of the relationship.
This situation is easily avoided by obtaining expert legal advice at the beginning of your cohabitation or when you decide to invest money in another person’s property. Stokes can prepare a Declaration of Trust setting out your individual obligations and shares in the property. Stokes can also prepare a Cohabitation Agreement, setting out the arrangements for the payment of the bills and mortgage and any other financial matters.
With effect from 1 May 2010, the Family Department no longer undertakes public funding (formerly known as Legal Aid) work.
Please contact us to discuss your matter further – our Family Law Department offers a free initial 30 minute appointment to all new clients.
Mrs Beverley Gent
Head of the Family Department, F.Inst.L.Ex
Tel: 023 9282 8131
Fax: 023 9281 1339