However, many such couples will be unaware of their legal rights, which are not the same as those of married couples or civil partners should the relationship end.
In Scotland, the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 introduced a new framework for cohabitants, creating significant legal rights and obligations. If you are currently cohabiting, or thinking of doing so, at Scullion LAW we can advise on the law regarding cohabitation and the options should something happen to one partner, or if the relationship breaks down. To discuss your specific circumstances, call us today on 0141 374 2121. An initial consultation costs £200 plus VAT = £240.
Cohabitants are a couple living together as if married or civil partners. The Court has the discretion to determine whether a couple are accepted as cohabitants and will take into account matters such as the length of time the couple have lived together, the nature of the relationship and the nature and extent of any financial arrangements that are in place during that time.
The rights of cohabitants include:
Death: If one of the parties dies without leaving a Will the other party may, within six months of the date of death, apply to the court for payment out of the deceased’s estate. The Court has a broad discretion about the award to be made, including the size of the estate, any benefits already received as a result of the partner’s death and any other claims there may be.
Financial Provision: A party can make a claim against the other for payment of a sum of money within one year from the end of the cohabitation. For example, this may be where a party has contributed to a mortgage or other household expenses but the property was owned by the other party, or where the claimant has had to give up work to look after a child during the period of cohabitation.
Costs of Children: In addition to child support payments, a claim can be made for a one-off lump sum to assist with the financial costs of raising a child.
Cohabiting partners should consider entering into a cohabitation agreement to formalise living arrangements. This can include details of childcare arrangements and how household bills are to be divided up. These agreements can be particularly important if the parties are buying a property together but are making unequal financial contributions to the purchase price. The agreement can record the sums each contributed to the purchase price and who will be meeting the mortgage payments and in what proportion.
If you are currently cohabiting or thinking of doing so, or are already doing so, and need advice, or for any other Family Law query, please call our expert cohabitation lawyers today. Our fresh approach to legal services, our open, friendly service and proven track record has helped us earn our excellent reputation in the Glasgow and Hamilton area. We regularly serve clients in Glasgow, Hamilton, Bearsden, Bishopsbriggs Milngavie, Bothwell, Strathaven, Thorntonhall and across the West of Scotland. Call us at our offices in Glasgow and Hamilton on 0141 374 2121.
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