I'm often asked by clients, when separating from their cohabitee, whether they have an automatic entitlement to a share in what was their home. Clients are often very surprised to hear that they might not. No such claims exist by right when couples who have lived together, separate.
The only claims that are available for property are based upon contributions that have been made, the legal title and trust law. There is no right due to the relationship for any financial claim, although sometimes it's possible to establish one through litigation, but only in certain circumstances.
It's for these reasons I always advise a client considering moving in with their partner or buying a property with their partner, to carefully consider how they're going to own the property and what they would want to happen in the event their relationship broke down. Couples often record this agreement in documents called living together agreements or cohabitation agreements.
For more information about the rights of couples on separation and how to protect assets during a relationship see our article at http://www.freethsoxford.co.uk/living_together_how_is_it_different_to_marriage.
If you are concerned about the impact this issue has on you or your family, or you know someone else who may benefit from advice on this issue, please do contact me on 0845 40401717.