Ayesha Vardag comments:
“Cohabitation is not marriage. At a time where huge 50-50 payouts on divorce are all over the news, it’s worth remembering that the story is very different if you don’t tie the knot legally.
“Cohabitees can acquire rights in their homes, even if they’re not joint legal owners, under standard property a trust law. If for example, if they have given up a career or had children on a promise that the home is theirs too, or if they have contributed to the purchase price, they may be entitled to a share of the proceeds of sale. This is usually fiddly and expensive to prove, however.
“Cohabitees can also have payments for maintenance for their children, including an allowance for them as carers, a one-off lump sum, strictly needs-based, for cars, property renovation, debt payments, etc (not for a home), and they can have a house held on trust to be in with the children until they grow up, when it will revert to their former partner.
“While that can all be very substantial and can meet a cohabitee’s needs for his or herself and the children for a time, it’s a far cry from sharing in the millions they may have helped to build up in their partner’s name. And after the children grow up, it’s goodbye to the home and the cohabite, who may have given everything up for their partner’s career, and they may be out on the street.“
Notes to Editors:
Ayesha Vardag graduated from Cambridge University with Honours in Law and from Brussels with a Master’s in European Law, working at the International Courts of Justice in the Hague, the UN(IAEA) in Vienna, Linklaters (finance law) and Sears Tooth (divorce law).
Her firm, Ayesha Vardag Solicitors, works at the cutting edge of family law in leading cases involving “big money“ and complex international issues.
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