Family Court Practice, The
Order the 2021 edition due out in May
Court of Protection Practice 2021
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Latest articles
Help separated parents ditch avoidance strategies that stop them resolving differences
The desire to avoid conflict with an ex is the primary reason that separated parents do not get to see their children.  That’s an eye-opening finding from a survey of 1,105 separated...
What is a Cohabitation Agreement, and do I need one?
Many couples, despite living together, never seek to legally formalise their living and financial arrangements.  They mistakenly believe that the concept of a ‘common law’ husband and...
Welsh Government launches consultation on amendments to adoption regulations
The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on the proposed amendments to the Adoption Agencies (Wales) Regulations 2005 and the Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) Regulations 2015....
JM v RM [2021] EWHC 315 (Fam)
(Family Division, Mostyn J, 22 February 2021)Abduction – Wrongful retention – Hague Convention application – Mother decided not to return to Australia with children – COVID 19...
Re A (A Child) (Hague Convention 1980: Set Aside) [2021] EWCA Civ 194
(Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Moylan, Asplin LJJ, Hayden J, 23 February 2021)Abduction – Hague Convention 1980 – Return order made – Mother successfully applied to set aside due...
View all articles

The Rights of Cohabitants: When and how will the law be reformed?

Sep 29, 2018, 17:09 PM
Slug : the-rights-of-cohabitants-when-and-how-will-the-law-be-reformed
Meta Title :
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : No
Prioritise In Trending Articles : No
Date : Apr 30, 2009, 04:22 AM
Article ID : 87137

Edward Hess Barrister, Harcourt Chambers and Deputy District Judge at the Principal Registry of the Family Division

Let us take an example of a family journey. At age 24, Andrew starts an engineering business and buys a house in his sole name with a large mortgage, the repayments on which he is able to fund from his business income. At age 28, Andrew meets and falls in love with Belinda. Belinda is aged 25 and has made a good start in her career as a journalist. She moves into Andrew's house, selling her own flat, which has very little equity. She soon becomes pregnant and, with Andrew's encouragement and support, gives up her job to look after the baby. She has three children quite quickly and successfully devotes her life to bringing them up to adulthood. Twenty-five years pass. Andrew is now 53 and Belinda is 50. The children are all out of education. Andrew's business has thrived and is now worth £1,000,000 and provides him with an income of £100,000 a year. Over the last twenty years Andrew has also been able to fund a pension for himself, now with a CETV of £300,000. Andrew and Belinda still live in Andrew's original house. It is now worth £750,000, is mortgage-free and remains in Andrew's sole name. Belinda has no significant savings or pension and has not worked since the birth of her first child. Her journalistic skills and qualifications are hugely out of date. It has never occurred to Belinda that the relationship might break down or that Andrew will not support her for life. In any event, Belinda vaguely assumes, surely the law would provide her with a remedy if Andrew let her down? Andrew then falls for the younger charms of 22-year-old Charlotte. He asks Belinda to leave his house so that Charlotte can move in.

If Andrew and Belinda had been married at any time in the course of this relationship then Belinda would be entitled to go to court and ask for half of everything: certainly half the house and the pension and possibly half the business as well. She may also receive ongoing spousal maintenance payments to meet her outgoings.

As Andrew and Belinda were never married then Belinda's prospects will be very different. She may very well have no remedy at all. She certainly has no rights in relation to the pension or the business or to ask for maintenance. At best, she will have an uncertain claim to a portion of the house.

The difference between the two outcomes is stark and plainly unjust but such is the current state of the law in England and Wales.

To read the rest of this article, see May [2009] Family Law journal.

To log on to Family Law Online or to request a free trial click here.

Categories :
  • Articles
Tags :
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Related Articles
Load more comments
Comment by from