“The Myth of the Common Law Spouse
Has anyone ever told you if you live with someone you become their common law husband or spouse and have the same rights as a married couple if you split up?
This is not true!
There is no such thing as a common law anything – it is unfortunately a myth.
Currently, no matter how long you live with someone as their partner, you have no rights towards their pensions, for maintenance for yourself, a house or for a lump sum of money.
The only claims you have are in relation to your children or property.
For children, you can claim for maintenance under the Child Maintenance Services (formerly the CSA) if you cannot agree what should be paid between you or, under certain specific circumstances, for a lump sum or housing, but solely for the benefit of the children, and not for you to retain afterwards.
In relation to property, if the house is in joint names, the position is somewhat clearer; the ownership deeds prevail and it is for the person saying otherwise to prove it.
If the house is in your ex partner’s sole name, we can still seek to argue you have an interest in the house by way of a trust, it is not easy but if you contributed to the purchase price or were led to believe you had an interest in the property and relied to your detriment on that belief, you may also have an interest of some sort.
In reality, the best way to deal with the property is to make sure when you buy the property or pay any money over, your interest is represented on the ownership deeds, in some sort of trust document or by way of a written agreement drawn up by a solicitor.
If you believe any of the above circumstances relate to you, and you need further advice, please call Michelle Dean at our Walsall office on 0844 556 8673
Member since: 25th February 2014
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