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Divorce and Family Law

Cohabitation Agreements

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There are many common misconceptions around separation and divorce or dissolution, and In England and Wales perhaps the most a widely held misconception is that if a couple lives together then they are classed as ‘Common Law’ partners and therefore have the same legal rights as married or civil partners. This is not the case.

Couples who do not wish to enter into a marriage or civil partnership can still obtain some protection in the event that they split up and this can be provided through a Cohabitation Agreement. A Cohabitation Agreement outlines which assets are owned by whom within a relationship, whether jointly or solely, and provides the opportunity to document how the parties agree these assets should be distributed in the event of a relationship breakdown. It can also specify arrangements regarding the maintenance of children, joint finances, property and other significant assets.

Depending on how any property is legally and beneficially owned during the relationship, there may be the potential for a claim in relation to jointly occupied property under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA). However, such applications are far from straightforward and can be very expensive, which is why you need legal advice from an expert family lawyer, and why it is also be beneficial to prepare a cohabitation agreement, either when you decide to live together or even when you have been living together for some period of time.

What is a TOLATA claim?

This is where two individuals have lived together in a property and now dispute an aspect of their cohabitation, generally regarding who actually owns the property. It could be when one party paid for the deposit and would like that to be reflected by being named on the land deeds.

It could be over who should remain in occupation of the property where both parties refuse to move out. In some cases, it could be about whether the property should be sold and who should receive the sale proceeds and in what proportion.

It is called a “TOLATA” claim as the Court makes a decision by reference to legislation known as the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.

Our Head of Family Law, Nicholas Clough, is an expert in the field of TOLATA claims. If you find that you are affected by the issues outlined above and need the advice of an experienced lawyer, please contact him today to discuss your queries, by emailing Family@psg-law.co.uk or telephone 03333 058375.

Power of Five

We work closely with our expert colleagues in our Wealth Protection team, covering the relevant financial issues as outlined above. You can be confident that all your concerns can be dealt with efficiently and effectively. Please contact our team today on 03333 058375, or email Family@psg-law.co.uk We are here to help you.

Meet the Team

  • Nicholas Clough

    Partner, Head of Divorce & Family Law

    Nicholas Clough

    t:07538 385956

    e: nicholas.clough@psg-law.co.uk

  • Jackie Rawcliffe

    Consultant, Divorce & Family Law

    Jackie Rawcliffe

    t:01244 956686

    e: jackie.rawcliffe@psg-law.co.uk

  • Carole Nettleton

    Consultant, Divorce & Family Law

    Carole Nettleton

    t:07958 028069

    e: carole.nettleton@psg-law.co.uk

What Our Clients Say About Us...

  • “Nicholas Clough dealt with my case efficiently and thoroughly. I am so grateful for all his hard work and support and would recommend him to others.” Mr H


  • I just wanted to say, thank you so much for all your help and support the last few months. I have appreciated everything you have done for me and for listening to me. I don't know what I would have done, without your help.” J.S.


  • “I would recommend this service to everyone, exceptional service.” Ms S


  • I highly recommend Carole for her responsive, professional guidance and immense support. I couldn’t do this without her.” Ms G


  • “It’s been a long road and I couldn’t have navigated it without you. Thank you for all of the hours you have dedicated to this and also for your professionalism and passion for reaching a fair result. You have been such an emotional strength to me, I will never forget it.” Ms B


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If you would like to speak with one of our expert lawyers, just call or email using the information below, or complete this form.

call03333 058375 mailinfo@psg-law.co.uk

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