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Cohabitation

Help for Cohabiting Families

Help for Cohabiting Families

At Evolve Family Law the family and private client solicitors have often commented on the very different ways that married and cohabiting couples are treated when it comes to UK family law and the laws on Wills and estate planning. The wholly different treatment can create many injustices. The saddest aspect is that when deciding whether to cohabit or get married most couples don’t realise the significance of their choice because they are not family solicitors or private client lawyers. Instead, they make their decision on whether to get married purely on personal preferences without a full appreciation of the legal implications. Recently one of the perceived injustices has been righted as the Department for Work and Pensions has announced plans to extend bereavement support to cohabiting couples with children. We are Manchester, Cheshire and Online Family and Private Client Solicitors. For legal help and advice on family law and Wills for cohabiting couples call Evolve Family Law or complete our online enquiry form. Bereavement support for cohabiting families You would think that if you were bereaved with dependent children, you would need financial support, whatever the legal status of your relationship. The law previously said financial help was only available to claim if you were a bereaved parent with dependent children and you were either married or in a civil partnership. You could have been married a month and be able to make a claim but a five or fifteen-year committed cohabiting relationship was not recognised when it came to bereavement help. The government  has now announced that the Widowed Parent’s Allowance and Bereavement Support Payments will be claimable by the cohabiting partner of a deceased who had children living with their partner at the time of the partner’s death. The announcement may appear to be very limited in scope but it is estimated that more than 22,000 families will be able to claim this bereavement financial support. To be eligible to make a claim a person in a cohabiting relationship with dependent children will just need to have been living with their partner at the time of their partner’s death. The announcement isn’t law yet. The law will need to be changed by Act of Parliament. However, the government has said that if the law is changed it plans to allow bereaved cohabitees to make backdated claims to the 30 August 2018. Cohabiting couple advice If you are in a cohabiting relationship, it remains vital that you understand the basics of how your relationship will be treated in law if your relationship breaks down either because one of you decides to leave or if your partner passes away. If you are cohabiting with a partner and you split up your rights and financial claims are limited and based on property law. To protect yourself and your children you need to understand your rights and preferably get a cohabitation agreement drawn up to safeguard yourself and your children. If you are cohabiting it is also vitally important that you each make a Will and power of attorney. That is because, under the law, a cohabitee is not treated as their partner’s next of kin. That means that if your cohabitee dies without leaving a Will you won't receive anything under intestacy rules and instead you will have to make a claim against the estate. Likewise, if your partner loses capacity because of an accident or ill health you won't be able to make decisions on their behalf as under the law you aren’t their next of kin. A health and welfare power of attorney and a financial  power of attorney gives you the right to step in and help if your loved one is incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions on what is in their best interests. [related_posts] How can Evolve Family Law help you? At Evolve Family Law our family law solicitors and private client lawyers can help you with: Cohabitation agreements. Resolving property and cohabitation claims if a relationship breaks down. Mediation support if you are going through family mediation because your cohabiting relationship has broken down. Wills for cohabiting couples including the appointment of testamentary guardians for dependent children. Advice on estate planning for cohabiting couples including inheritance tax and the importance of pension and insurance nominations. Powers of attorney. The creation of life time trusts to protect loved ones Cohabitees and claims against an estate.
Catherine Hazeldine
Feb 17, 2022   ·   4 minute read
What Do Family Lawyers Do?

What Do Family Lawyers Do?

When I am leaving the office after a busy day as a Manchester family lawyer I sometimes ponder where the day went as it doesn’t seem five minutes since I was opening the office up as part of my morning routine. That’s when my thoughts turned to answering a popular internet search question ‘what do family lawyers do?’Manchester and Cheshire Family Lawyers  Robin Charrot is a family lawyer at Evolve Family Law. The firm advises on all aspects of family law from separation and divorce proceedings, reaching financial settlements, resolving child custody and contact as well as private client matters. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. The Evolve Family Law offices are in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.What is family law? To understand what a family lawyer does you need to know what family law entails. Most people assume that being a Manchester family lawyer is all about drafting divorce proceedings but that certainly isn’t the case as that is only one very small aspect of working life in family law.   Family law is something that you will probably come across in your life. That’s not a negative as many aspects of family law are a positive experience for families, such as: Buying your first house and asking a family lawyer to prepare a cohabitation agreement Getting engaged to marry and signing a prenuptial agreement so both you and your fiancé have peace of mind Having your first child through adoption or surrogacy and asking the family lawyer to secure an adoption order or parental order for your family.   Even something that can be a very negative and a traumatic life experience can end up with a positive outcome with the help of a family solicitor. For example: Separating from a partner and with the help of a family solicitor either agreeing a parenting plan for your child or securing a child arrangements order so that you and your child can enjoy an ongoing relationship with one another Getting the help you need to leave an abusive relationship with a controlling or violent partner through obtaining a non-molestation or occupation injunction order thus enabling you to make a fresh start and put a bad relationship behind you Going through the heartache of your child being taken abroad by the child’s other parent and through use of child abduction and children law proceedings securing the return of your child to the UK Separating from a husband or wife and not knowing where you stand financially and how you will achieve financial independence. Through financial disclosure gaining a better understanding of the family finances and securing a financial court order so that you can move into a new family home Meeting a new partner after a separation or divorce and asking your family lawyer to prepare a cohabitation agreement or a prenuptial agreement so that you can enter your new relationship confident that you have the right paperwork in place to protect you and your family.   These are just some of the things that family lawyers do. Family lawyers do tend to get a bad press on the basis that it is thought that they encourage warring parents and divorcing couples to go to court but that isn’t the case. There are many alternatives to making an application to court, such as: Solicitor negotiations with any financial agreement being converted into a separation agreement or an agreed financial consent order (without the need for anyone to go to court) Family mediation support so that if you are able to reach an agreement in family mediation your Memorandum of Understanding is converted into an agreed financial consent order with no need to physically go to a court hearing to secure the court order Family arbitration – this can be quicker and more flexible than traditional court proceedings.   However, there will also be some family situations where urgent court applications are necessary. For example: If you are in an abusive relationship and you need the protection of an injunction order You are worried that your child is at risk of child abduction or will be taken abroad to live without your agreement You are concerned that your husband or wife is not giving financial disclosure of the family assets or is selling or transferring assets and that if you do nothing you won't receive a fair financial settlement. In that scenario a financial court application needs to be made to protect yours and your children’s best interests.   One thing that is certainly true is that no one day is ever the same in the life of a family lawyer; Monday could involve negotiating and drafting an international prenuptial agreement whilst Tuesday might be spent in court securing an injunction, financial or children law order. As for Wednesday, who knows?    ​Manchester and Cheshire Family Lawyers  To speak to Robin Charrot at Evolve Family Law about any aspect of family law,  from separation and divorce proceedings, reaching a financial settlement or resolving child custody and contact  call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Our offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone are also offered.Latest From Our Family Law Blog:
Robin Charrot
Jan 28, 2021   ·   5 minute read
Diverse children enjoying playing with toys

Who Has Custody of a Child When the Parents Are Not Married?

Child custody and contact is a tricky topic whatever the legal status of the parents of a child. For example, the parents could be unmarried and have never lived together, be a former cohabiting couple, married or divorced or in a civil partnership. In this blog we look at who has custody of a child when the parents aren’t married.Cheshire Children Law Solicitors   For advice about children law,  parental responsibility, child custody or making a child arrangements order application call Evolve Family Law solicitors, based in Holmes Chapel Cheshire and Whitefield North Manchester, on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form . We can set up a video conference, skype or telephone appointment.Who has custody of a child?          UK children law doesn’t give a parent custody of their child automatically by virtue of being a parent, whether you are an unmarried or married parent. However, if custody is in dispute, either parent can apply to court for a child arrangements order.   A child arrangements order is a bit like the old custody and contact orders as a child arrangements order sets out the person the child should live with and the contact arrangements with the other parent or other extended family members.   A child arrangements order can be very flexible and can say that there should be equal or shared parenting or, at the other extreme, the court order can say that one parent should have no contact or only indirect or supervised contact with the child.   When making a child arrangements order the court will make an order that the family law judge thinks is in your child’s best interests. The judge will consider arrange of factors when making his or her decision. These factors are known as ‘the welfare checklist’. The checklist includes looking at your child’s wishes and feelings in light of your child’s age and understanding as well as assessing how capable each parent is of meeting your child’s physical and emotional needs.   When considering the welfare checklist and what specific child arrangements order to make the court won't consider the legal status of the parent’s relationship as a very relevant factor in the decision making process. That is because the test for what child arrangements order to make, and who should get custody, is based on what is in your child’s best interests rather than the status of the parent’s relationship.   In today’s age, family judges are of the view that whether you are a married mother or father or unmarried the issue for the court to determine is what custody and contact order best meets a child’s needs. A mother and father may have been in an unmarried relationship for many years and whilst you may think that in that scenario the mother will have more ‘’rights’’ over their child a judge will make a child arrangements order, setting out the custody and contact, that he or she thinks will meet the needs of the child. For example, if the father is a loving father who has always enjoyed a close relationship with the child a shared care order may be appropriate. On the other hand, if one parent has either been physically or emotionally abusive towards the child then this would be a reason to give custody of the child to the other parent and to stop or limit the contact to the other parent.   When it comes to children law the court looks at things from the perspective of what is best for the child and in the child’s interests. That consideration does not pay a lot of heed to whether you are married or unmarried or in a civil partnership but instead focusses on your child and their characteristics and needs. Accordingly, in the court’s eyes, it is far more important that a parent wants and is able to commit to a long term relationship with their child after a parental separation than the legal status of the parental relationship.   If you are a parent engaged in a custody or contact dispute then children law solicitors will recommend that you don’t focus on the status of your relationship with the other parent and instead focus on your child’s needs and best interests. That way the court is far more likely to be persuaded to make the type of child arrangements order that you are seeking.    How can Evolve Family Law help? At Evolve Family Law we recognise that every family is different and we therefore welcome calls to discuss how we can help your family, whether it is an application for a parental responsibility order or a child arrangements order or to discuss the potential legal costs of going to court for a child custody order. Call us on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form . We can set up a video conference, skype or telephone appointment so you can speak to an experienced Cheshire children law solicitor. ​Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
Louise Halford
Jan 21, 2021   ·   5 minute read
Serious sad woman thinking over a problem

What is Coercive Control and Behaviour?

In the past you could only get a judge to make a family law injunction order if there had been domestic violence involving a trip to the hospital or doctor. Those days are long gone with family judges realising that any form of domestic violence, from serious sexual assault to slap or push, is unacceptable. The law now allows you to apply for a family law injunction order if you are subjected to coercive control and behaviour. In this blog we look at what is meant by coercive control and behaviour.Cheshire divorce and family law solicitors If you need help with your separating or divorcing your controlling partner then Cheshire and Manchester based Evolve Family Law solicitors can help you. Call us on 0345 222 8 222, or complete our online enquiry form or email louise@evolvefamilylaw.co.ukEvolve Family Law solicitors are approachable and friendly, providing expert divorce, children and financial settlement advice, with experience in handling separations or divorces where a partner has been abusive or is narcissistic and controlling.  Call us on 0345 222 8 222 and let us help you.Jump to: What is coercive behaviour? Examples of coercive behaviour Recognising coercive behaviour What can I do about coercive behaviour in my relationship? What is a non-molestation order? What is an occupation order? Breaching an injunction order Talking to your divorce and family law solicitor about coercive behaviour What is coercive behaviour? The question ‘what is coercive behaviour?’ is a good one as what one person would describe as coercive and controlling behaviour may be the normal experience of a husband, wife or partner who is so used to such controlling behaviour that they have become immune to it and adapted their life and thought processes around their partner’s behaviour so as not to upset them or to fit in.   It is often only when you see your husband, wife, or partner starting to exercise the same coercive behaviour on your child and you see the impact of that behaviour on your child’s demeanour and personality that you realise that you have got to do something. In other families it takes a close friend or family member to point out that what your partner sees as loving behaviour is actually stifling you and is coercive behaviour.   From a Cheshire divorce and family law solicitor’s perspective coercive behaviour is any act designed to force or coerce you into doing something against your will or that is intended to harm or intimidate you. Acts can include physical threats as well other forms of humiliation or words said by your partner that make you feel as if you are no longer in control of your life or actions.   The government says that coercive and controlling behaviour is an act designed to make you feel subordinate or dependent on your partner and gives examples of:   Isolation from friends and family Stopping you from being independent Regulating your behaviour. Examples of coercive behaviour It is all very well to be told what the government thinks is coercive behaviour but how does that translate into real life? Below are some examples of real life coercive behaviour: Controlling what you eat and weigh (it may be said that this is for ‘your own good’ to make you attractive but it is still coercive and controlling behaviour) Stopping you from having a shower or bath at times other than stipulated Preventing you from leaving the family home on your own or stopping you from seeing your friends and family Restricting your access to money so you only get an allowance to buy food and have to account for any money spent by you Telling you that you can't pick up the baby or play with the children other than at times allowed Telling you that you can't go online or monitoring your computer and telephone usage Dictating what clothes you should wear (either too modest or too flamboyant for your taste) or saying what make-up you can wear (if any).   Coercion and control doesn’t just happen to women in heterosexual relationships. Women can also coerce and control their male partners or husbands. Coercion and control also occurs in same sex relationships.   If something amounts to coercive and controlling behaviour then it doesn’t matter if you are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting and living together. It is the act or behaviour that is important rather than the legal status of your family relationship.Recognising coercive behaviour Coercive and controlling behaviour can be insidious and hard for you or your friends and family to spot. That is because the coercion can be subtle (for example, ‘you look fat or tarty in that outfit’) or the degree of control can grow slowly over time so you don’t recognise it for what it is (for example, getting you to agree that it is too much hassle to see your mother every week to eventually telling you who you can and can't see).   When you are in a relationship, or you are a close friend or family member, it can be hard to spot or recognise coercive behaviour, often because it is dressed up as ‘only wanting to do what is best’ or because it is said you are so stupid or mentally unwell that your partner or husband or wife knows what is best for you.   Don’t forget that coercion and controlling behaviour doesn’t have to be face to face. Some of the most intimidating coercive behaviour can be carried out by bombarding someone with text messages and phone calls or remotely spying on activities.What can I do about coercive behaviour in my relationship? If you are being subjected to coercion and control in your relationship then you can: Try and get your partner to see his/her behaviour for what it is. This may involve counselling to get to the root cause of the coercive behaviour. In some family situations the nature of the coercive control is such that it is not safe or healthy for you to stay in the relationship and so counselling and trying to stay together may not be a realistic option as you need to leave the family home and separate permanently Separate and start divorce proceedings. If your husband or wife has exercised coercive or controlling behaviour you should be able to start divorce proceedings based on their unreasonable behaviour. Even if you don’t want to start divorce proceedings based on your spouse’s unreasonable behaviour it is still important to tell your divorce solicitor about the behaviour. They can talk to you about your divorce proceedings options, such as starting divorce proceedings on your partner’s new relationship (adultery) Separate and start injunction proceedings. An injunction order is made by the family court. The court can either make a non-molestation or an occupation order to protect you and your children Make a complaint to the police. The Serious Crime Act 2015 created a new criminal offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in intimate or familial relationship’. If your partner is found guilty then in a serious case of coercive behaviour they could be sent to prison for up to five years. What is a non-molestation order?  A non-molestation injunction order is a family court order that stops the person who is behaving in a coercive or controlling manner towards you or your child from continuing to do so.What is an occupation order?  An occupation injunction order is a family court order that stops the person who is behaving in a coercive or controlling manner towards you or your child from continuing to live at the family home or from re-entering the family home or restricts your partner or spouse from certain rooms in the family home.Breaching an injunction order If your partner or spouse breaches a family court injunction order then it is a contempt of court and a criminal offence.Talking to your divorce and family law solicitor about coercive behaviour If you take the step of deciding to speak to a Cheshire divorce solicitor about your marriage or relationship it is important to tell them about the coercive control. Many people are too embarrassed to talk about their partner or spouse’s behaviour or they decide that their partner’s behaviour isn’t relevant because they don’t want to start divorce proceedings based on unreasonable behaviour or start injunction proceedings.   Even if you don’t want your divorce solicitor to act on the coercive behaviour information you give them, it is still important to tell them about it so that they understand why you may have concerns about your children having contact and why you want a child arrangements order or why you may want a financial settlement that includes a clean break financial court order so there are no ongoing financial ties between you and your husband or wife.   Cheshire divorce solicitors won't judge you or criticise you for not leaving your partner any earlier. However, what they will do is support you during your relationship breakdown, finding the best long term family solutions for you and your family and to do that they need to know about the coercive and controlling behaviour to help you and your family.    Cheshire family law solicitors   If you need help with your separation or divorce from an abusive partner then Cheshire and Manchester based Evolve Family Law solicitors can help you. Call us on 0345 222 8 222, complete our online enquiry form or email louise@evolvefamilylaw.co.uk.Evolve Family Law solicitors are approachable and friendly. We don’t stand on ceremony but we do provide the expert divorce, children and financial settlement advice that you need when you are separating from a controlling and coercive partner and need someone on your side.  Call us on 0345 222 8 222 and let us help you.Latest From Our Divorce & Domestic Violence Blogs:
Louise Halford
Feb 12, 2020   ·   9 minute read
African american unhappy couple sitting on couch after quarrel fight thinking of break up or divorce, black upset man and woman not talking having conflict, bad relationships concept, close up view

How do you Prepare to Separate?

It comes as a surprise to some people but Manchester divorce solicitors are regularly asked the question ‘how do I prepare to separate?’ It is a good question because the earlier you speak to a divorce solicitor about a planned separation the more they can help you reach an informed decision about whether or not to separate and assist you in making your separation as painless as possible. Manchester Divorce Solicitors If you need help with your separation or divorce then Manchester divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law in Whitefield can help you. Call us on 0345 222 8 222, complete our online enquiry form or email robin@evolvefamilylaw.co.uk   Whitefield based Evolve Family Law solicitors are approachable and friendly, providing pragmatic expert divorce, children and financial settlement solutions. Call us on 0345 222 8 222 and let us help you. Jump to: Where to start with planning a separation Talking to the children about your planned separation Practical steps when separating Understand your separation options Where to Start with Planning a Separation The obvious place to start if you are thinking about a separation is to talk to your partner but although that seems the sensible thing to do it isn’t always the best approach because: You may want to take legal advice before speaking to your partner as the advice on the potential child custody and financial settlement options may affect either your decision to separate or the timing of your separation; Talking to a counsellor about your relationship difficulties may help you decide what you want to do and whether you want to suggest couple counselling or a trial separation to your partner. Alternatively counselling may confirm your decision that you want to separate or start divorce proceedings; If your partner is abusive, has a history of hiding assets, or you are worried that if you tell your partner that you plan to leave that they may take the children or destroy sentimental precious possessions then in any of those situations talking to your partner about the separation may not be the best approach. If you do decide to speak to your partner about a separation, then it may not come as a complete surprise to them. However, sometimes a partner has no idea about what their husband or wife is planning so they need time to accept your decision before being able to have a constructive discussion with you about the practicalities of your separation. Talking to the Children About Your Planned Separation Knowing when and how best to talk to the children about a planned separation is always a tough decision. Some parents think it is best not to tell the children about a planned separation until they really need to know, for example, if the house goes on the market or until divorce proceedings are started. However, waiting to talk to the children can be more unsettling to the children as they make pick up on the atmosphere in the family home or hear things from grandparents or friends but be too embarrassed or worried to talk to you about the separation.   In an ideal world, both parents should sit down together to talk to children about a separation. Don’t worry that you don’t know all the answers to questions about precise custody and contact arrangements or your future plans.   Practical Steps When Separating Separating from a partner is very emotional but it can help to focus on practicalities such as: The temporary living arrangements – a Manchester divorce solicitor will advise you that you should not leave the family home without first taking legal advice about whether that is the best option in your personal and financial circumstances. You could, for example, ask your partner to leave or potentially may have the grounds to start injunction proceedings if they won't leave voluntarily. If your separation is amicable then it may be possible for you to continue to live together at the family home until you reach a long term financial settlement but whether you are both staying at the family home or one of you is moving into rented accommodation or staying with family, you will need to reach an agreement on temporary financial matters and payment of bills and child support. You should not finalise any decisions about short term or long term financial arrangements until you have taken legal advice; The parenting arrangements – the parenting arrangements for your children will very much depend on whether you are continuing to live together at the family home until you reach decisions about what should happen to the house. Sorting out the long term arrangements for the children may not be practical until you know one another’s housing plans and whether, for example, it will be feasible for mid-week contact to take place; The financial paperwork - A Manchester divorce solicitor will tell you that you can't reach an informed financial settlement with your partner until you both know your up-to-date financial situation. That may involve finding out things like the value of the family home, the amount of the outgoings on the family home, the amount you have in savings or the value of the family business or pension. If you have a financial advisor or accountant they may have some of this information, such as an investment portfolio document or draft family business accounts. Understand Your Separation Options Prior to taking the decision to separate it helps to know what your separation options are and the ways in which you can reach an agreement over custody and parenting arrangements and your financial settlement.   When it comes to separation your options are broadly: A trial separation ; A permanent separation. If neither one of you wants to start divorce proceedings you may want to record any agreement reached about the family home , other property and financial support in a separation agreement; Starting divorce proceedings. Within divorce proceedings a court can be asked to make a financial court order to record the terms of any agreed financial settlement or, if you can't reach agreement, the court can decide how your assets and property should be divided and make a financial court order.   It is often assumed that if you go ahead with a separation that you and your partner will end up in court proceedings over custody of the children, who gets the family home or whether you will get a share of your spouse’s pension. However, experienced Manchester divorce solicitors say that you don’t have to end up in court. It is often possible to reach an agreement over the basis for the divorce proceedings, the custody and contact arrangements for the children and the financial settlement through taking legal advice and getting your solicitor to negotiate a parenting plan and financial settlement or advising you about your legal options during family mediation.   Taking advice on your separation can give you some of the information you need to make an informed and supported decision on whether or not to separate and how to best plan for your future.   Manchester divorce solicitors If you have questions about your separation or divorce then the friendly and approachable Manchester divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law in Whitefield can help you. Call us on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form or email robin@evolvefamilylaw.co.uk   Whitefield based Evolve Family Law solicitors offer pragmatic expert divorce, children and financial settlement solutions. Call us on 0345 222 8 222 and let us help you.   Latest From Our Separation & Divorce Blogs:
Robin Charrot
Dec 16, 2019   ·   7 minute read
Who Gets the House If We Separate?

Who Gets the House If We Separate?

'Who gets the house if we separate' is a very good question but the answer to who gets the house if we separate all depends on the following: Are you married or in a civil partnership? If you are in a legally recognised relationship the Court can make orders over the house to meet both parties and any children’s needs. If you aren’t married or in a civil partnership the Court has to apply strict property law to decide on the question ‘’who gets the house if we separate’’ ; If you are a cohabiting couple then who legally owns the property and therefore whose name is on the title deeds? Even if the property is owned in one partner’s sole name property claims can still be made if legal requirements are met; If you are a cohabiting couple and you jointly own a property do you own it as joint tenants or tenants in common? The type of joint ownership can affect the property claim; If you are a cohabiting couple what was your intention when you bought the house and who has paid for the house and mortgage; If you are a cohabiting couple do you have any dependent children? If so the Court can order that a home needs to be provided for the children while they are growing up; Is there a cohabitation agreement or declaration of trust in place? Who does get the house if a cohabiting couple separate? This question was yet again being decided by the family Court this week. Why? Ms Ladwa was in a relationship with Ms Chapman for 16 years. In the early part of their relationship Ms Chapman bought a house for 1.4 million and a year later she transferred the property into joint names with Ms Ladwa. Roll on 16 years and on the couple’s separation Ms Ladwa claimed half the house and Ms Chapman opposed her property claim as she  maintained that she’d only transferred the house into joint names as a result of Ms Ladwa’s undue influence . Ms Chapman thought she’d been used as a ‘’cash cow’’ by Ms Ladwa during their long relationship. What wasn’t disputed was the fact that Ms Chapman had made the greater financial contribution to the house whilst Ms Ladwa hadn’t been able to use her law degree to get a job. The judge described Ms Ladwa’s role as akin to a housewife in a traditional divorce. The Court concluded Ms Ladwa was entitled to half the house. Why when it was Ms Chapman that had bought and paid for the house? The Court thought there was no undue influence at play when Ms Chapman transferred the house into joint names; There was no cohabitation agreement or declaration of trust setting out in an official document who would get what share of the house on separation; The house had been bought with money from a joint bank account, even if Ms Chapman had contributed most of the money in the bank account; The house had been bought as a family home and it was the couple’s common intention to use it as a family home; So Ms Ladwa has ended up with half the house and Ms Chapman no doubt rues the fact that she didn’t sign a cohabitation agreement with her partner.   Who should sign a cohabitation agreement? If you own property or you are thinking about buying a family home then you need legal advice from a family solicitor on whether you should sign a cohabitation agreement. If you don’t have a cohabitation agreement in place you could be making a very expensive mistake as Ms Chapman found out to her cost. It is one of those family situations where it pays to take specialist legal advice from a family solicitor to protect yourself and your family. For advice and information on cohabitation claims and cohabitation agreements please call me on +44 (0) 1477 464020 or contact me by email at robin@evolvefamilylaw.co.uk. Family solicitor appointments are available in Holmes Chapel Cheshire and Prestwich Manchester.  
Robin Charrot
Aug 16, 2018   ·   4 minute read