Expert Help with Cohabitation…

Living together is increasingly common and if the relationship comes to an end it is important that you understand the financial implications. The Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 provides limited claims to co-habitants in situations where the relationship has ended by either separation or death.

There are two very important matters that you must be aware of. A claim in terms of the cohabitants rights in the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 must be raised within one year of the date of separation of the parties. If a relationship ends because a partner dies and does not leave a will then any claim against the in estate must be made to the court within six months from the date of death.

There are important differences between being married and cohabitants:

  • There can be no claim for maintenance made by one partner from the other;
  • No claim for legal transfer of property can be made against a living partner;
  • A capital award can be made by way of a lump sum or by instalments;
  • You can only make a claim on a dead partner’s assets if there is no will.

To ascertain whether any payment is due, the applicant partner must show that their ex-partner has gained economic advantage from contributions made by them, and that the applicant has suffered economic disadvantage in the interests of their partner or a child of that relationship. To decide what if any award should be made, the court looks at the extent of any economic advantage, which the partner may have gained and whether that is offset by any economic disadvantage which they have suffered in the interests of the applicant or any child.

Equally the court must look at the extent to which any economic disadvantage suffered by the applicant in the interests of their partner or any child, is offset by any economic advantage which the applicant has gained from contributions made by their partner. Such economic advantage can be gains in capital, income and earning capacity and the economic disadvantage may include losses in any of those areas.

The law has taken a number of years to develop and it is still a complex area. Taking advice is essential.

How much will it cost?

We offer a one hour fixed-fee meeting for £250 (inclusive of VAT) where one of our experienced family law solicitors who will meet with you to offer personalised advice. We will then provide you with a quote for further advice or legal work that is required after the initial meeting, which is specific to your requirements.

We offer a free 10 minute telephone call with one of our solicitors to discuss how we can help.

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Frequently asked questions to consider…

Cohabitees are a couple who lived together in the same property, as if they were a married couple or civil partners. It is usually presumed that the couple will eat together, shop together, socialise together and for all intents and purposes appear as a committed couple to their network of friends and family.

Absolutely anything that arises as a consequence of you cohabiting with your partner. Matters ranging from who pays for the mortgage, council tax, utilities, repairs, what happens to the rise in equity of a property owned by one party, anything that you and your partner wish to agree.

In considering the economic advantage/disadvantage the court will consider:

  1. capital;
  2. income; and
  3. earning capacity.

The court will consider financial and non-financial contributions. This could include a party who has given up work or training to look after the parties’ children.

The court will presume that household goods acquired during the parties’ relationship are equally owned by the parties. The court will also presume that housekeeping money, or property bought with housekeeping money, is jointly owned.

Many couples continue to live in the same property after they separate. Your date of separation is factual: when did you stop living together as a couple? The court will look at a variety of factors including your sleeping arrangements; division of household chores and also how your relationship was viewed by your friends and family.

The time limits in the legislation are strict. If you are out of time to raise your claim, there may be some remedies available to you under the common law. You should seek urgent legal advice on this.

The best interests of the children are the paramount consideration in law. It is generally considered to be in a child’s best interests to have a strong relationship with both parents. If you and your partner cannot agree the arrangements for care of your children, you can apply to the court to make orders. The court has a special procedure for this by way of private hearings called Child Welfare Hearings which you attend with your solicitor.

Yes. We can give you a fixed fee quotation once we have established your circumstances.

Yes. It is your property and you have the right to remove it at the end of your relationship.

We do not routinely offer Legal Aid (other than in Guardianships) but if you are eligible for Legal Aid you can find details of firms offering legal aid at

Wise words from Beverley…

“In 2012 the UK Supreme Court ruled that when dividing the financial affairs of a couple the Court is entitled to take a broad brush approach to decide what in each case would produce a fair outcome. Specialist advice is essential. If you are about to set up home with your partner then we would strongly recommend entering into a Cohabitation Agreement. This would ensure that decisions you might make in your relationship, for example, about what would happen if you owned a property which was sold then the equity invested in a jointly owned property could be decided by each of you and not by a Court.”

Beverley Johnson

We’re ready to help you…

We advise arranging a short free phone call with a member of our Family Law team before a £250 fixed fee one hour initial meeting. By doing so, we can ensure that we can assist you, prioritise your needs and that you are confident and reassured that going forward you have chosen the best solicitor to work with you.

1. Get Started

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2. Prepare for your meeting

It is important that you prepare for your first fixed fee consultation in order to get the very best from your consultation – Click Here to find out what is required

Why use Johnson Family Law?

We are a family focussed team of specialist lawyers who consistently achieve good results for our clients. We offer sensitivity and understanding with specialised technical skills. We are solution-driven but every step along the way you are informed and given a range of options suitable for you. You will feel confident, supported and very importantly… get a response from us when you contact us.

We offer out of hours meetings, Skype, FaceTime and lots of texts to work around your needs.

90% of our work comes from our client recommendations & referral

We can help you right now…

To get started, we advise scheduling a call with a member of our family law team before arranging a fixed fee initial one hour meeting or a fixed fee package if suitable – we’ll advise on the right package for you.

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Here to help in a full range of family legal matters…

A stitch in time – Consider investing in an agreement to reflect what you both want to happen financially, should your relationship come to an end.

Sort it without court costs – these contracts regulate your separation. From your children to financial matters, these allow you to proceed to an undefended divorce.

Sometimes you need smart experienced lawyers to guide you through the complex legal system to help you deal with the end of your marriage, and to ensure a fair division of all matrimonial property.

Your children are your absolute priority so they are our priority too. We can work hard to help you in all disputes about Parental Rights and Responsibilities including residence and contact.

The law offers limited protection for cohabitees, governed by strict rules. We can make sure you receive a fair deal at the end of your relationship.

At your most vulnerable, we will make sure you and your family is protected.