When a relationship ends and the parties are not married or in a civil partnership, there are inevitably problems and issues to resolve both in respect of their personal relationship and also property. There may be children of the relationship and the family home may be in one or other party’s name or maybe in joint names. In such circumstances the parties cannot rely on the Matrimonial Causes Act ( which applies in divorce) to resolve any difficulties and need to turn to other legislation when disputes arise.
If the parties have purchased property together then in the absence of a trust deed the court frequently has to decide on each party’s financial interest in the property.
A dispute can arise in situations where the property is in one party’s sole name but the other party has invested money in doing up the property or has made some other contribution or there was some other arrangement recognised by the court as entitling that person to a beneficial interest.
On separation there may also be a dispute as to who should occupy the property pending any sale ( including delayed sale).
Trusts of Land and Trustees Act
Either party may apply to the court for an order under the Trusts of Land and Trustees Act for an order for sale of a property and/or declaration of the applicant’s beneficial interest in the property. This can be a complex area of law. Our specialist team can guide you through the correct procedure to put you in the best possible position to resolve matters sensibly and cost-effectively.
Family Law Act
Either party may also apply for an occupation order under the Family Law Act in respect of a property which is or was their home. Such an order determines who may occupy the property and/or who is not permitted to exercise their right to occupy irrespective of who is the registered owner. Our specialist Family team will advise and guide you on the appropriate application to make in your individual circumstances.
When there are children involved either party may make a application under the Children Act for a living arrangements order. This order will determine the time which children of the relationship shall spend with each parent. The court can also make decisions concerning specific issues ie. Medical treatment, religion, education, relocation. The court may also make an order prohibiting one parent from taking certain action ie prohibited from taking the child abroad. In special circumstances the court may make an order for financial provision for a child of the relationship but in the absence of such special circumstances the Child Maintenance Service has sole jurisdiction for child maintenance.