Contrary to popular belief, unmarried couples have vastly different rights to their married counterparts - and whilst many unmarried or cohabiting couples believe that they are entitled to certain rights by being a 'common law wife' or 'common law husband', unfortunately there is no legal weight to this misconception.
Unlike spouses, unmarried couples are treated by the law as separate individuals, which means that any assets will remain in the ownership of whoever's name they are in in the couple parts ways. This includes, money, property and pensions.
With more and more unmarried couples cohabiting, it is important that you know your rights before you move in.
If the property has both names on the mortgage it will generally be divided equally unless there is contractual evidence stating a different agreement. In cases such as this, one party will usually buy the other out of the property upon separation. If this isn't possible, the property will be put up for sale so that each party can retrieve his or her share.
Conversely, if the property is held in the sole name of one partner, they will retain full ownership if the relationship breaks down.
Legal issues arise, however, in cases where the party whose name is not on the mortgage has contributed financially to the property. This could include mortgage payments, home improvements or deposits.
In these cases, the person whose name is not on the mortgage must justify to a court, with the help of a solicitor, that they are entitled to their share.
At Forbes, we understand how distressing the breakdown of a relationship can be, without the legal issues that come with it. So, our team of expert solicitors are here to help. To speak to our team about any aspect of dividing assets or your rights as an unmarried couple, contact Forbes today on 0800 689 1058