Unmarried Couples & Relationship Breakdown

Property separating unmarried couples

During these difficult times, relationships are under even more pressure than usual. If you have decided that your relationship has come to an end, living arrangements with your partner will be at the forefront of your mind.

Like married couples, if you are cohabitating with your ex-partner, you may well feel that you are not be in a position to move out of the family property now, but you will probably want to give some thought to your options once everything returns to normal.

Property considerations for separating unmarried couples

If you own a property with your ex-partner, you will need to consider what you can or should do next. In an ideal world the options are to sell the property and go your separate ways or to consider a transfer into one person’s name. The person who leaves will need to be satisfied that they can be removed from their mortgage obligations and receive their appropriate share of any equity in the property.

If the property is to be sold then the two of you must agree how the proceeds of sale are divided. This issue is likely to have already been answered by the decision the two of you made when you purchased the property. Was it in equal shares or did one party protect an initial investment, such as paying the deposit?

House prices may be affected in the coming months and for a great number of people their income position is uncertain. A transfer or sale may not be the best option for you at this time.

It is possible for parties to agree a course of action but to delay that for a certain period of time. If you and your ex-partner are able to reach an agreement then this could be documented in a separation agreement.

Separation agreements

A separation agreement is a legal document signed by both parties. If one party breaches the agreement then the other party can apply to court and ask to enforce the terms.

Unmarried couples should also be aware that if any agreement cannot be reached by negotiation or mediation then court action could be considered as a last resort.

Separating unmarried couples have limited legislation at their disposal and as such they are limited to dealing with jointly owned property. It is often commented by unmarried couples that they have similar, if not the same, rights and obligations as those who are married. This is simply not the case. Unmarried couples cannot bring claims, for example, for spousal maintenance or claims against a pension.

Property separating unmarried couplesHow Nelsons can help

Layla Babadi is a Legal Director in our expert Family Law team.

If you need advice in relation to the subjects discussed above or any related topics, please contact Layla or another member of our team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.

The team will be happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail and provide you with more information about the services that we can provide.