Unmarried Couples and Property Ownership Disputes
For unmarried couples planning to separate from their partners, the Trusts of Land Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (known as TOLATA) can be a very complex area of law.
Some couples may have had a Cohabitation Agreement or a “living together agreement” which sets out how the property should be divided. If this is the case, the post separation arrangements should be relatively straightforward to finalise with our assistance.
If there is no formal agreement in the place then the situation is far more complex:
In the absence of an agreement, if the property is held in joint names then it will usually be divided equally between the separating couple.
If the property is held in the sole name of one partner, the other partner will seek to establish what is known as a beneficial interest in the property.
If you cannot resolve these issues by negotiation, it might be necessary to make an application to court. A claim under this legislation can:
- Force the sale of land or property
- To determine the share in the property which each partner owns
- Allow a partner to reoccupy a former family home
This is complicated and anyone in this situation will benefit from taking advice from us at the earliest opportunity.
On separation, the property will usually have to be sold so that each partner can realise their financial interest.