Who has a claim to the family home?

Cohabitation Dispute Solicitors

Last year Resolution reported that 1 in 8 couples – over 6 million people – were living together in the UK without being married or in a civil partnership. It is more common than ever for couples to take their time before getting married, or even decide that marriage isn’t for them. In today’s housing market many couples feel that buying a property is a financial priority and put the expense of a wedding to one side in favour of buying their own place.

Common-Law marriage hasn’t existed in UK Law since 1753, but it is still a widely used misconception. In fact, 2 in 3 of unmarried couples are not aware that there is no such thing as a ‘common law marriage’ in England and Wales, and that even if you have lived together for many years, you may not have the same rights to the property as a married couple would.

Relationship breakdown

If your ex-partner was the sole owner of the property, you might now feel left in the cold, worried that you don’t have a claim. You might have contributed towards your family home in other ways, such as mortgage payments or paying for improvements to the house. You feel that it would be unfair for your partner to walk away with the property that you contributed to financially.

If you have broken up amicably, you might not even be aware that you are entitled to a portion of the property. Perhaps your house was jointly owned, but you find yourself unsure of the next best steps.

Don’t walk away empty handed

You might feel that you and your partner agreed you would contribute towards the property in exchange for you to have some ownership. This was never officially agreed in writing, and now the agreement isn’t being honoured in the break up.

Although you do not have the same claim to an ex-partner’s property as you would an ex-spouse, you may have a claim to the property if you can demonstrate that you have a ‘beneficial interest’. Under the Law of Trusts, you could show that you have an ‘interest’ in the property through your contributions to it.

Your claim

The law of trusts is a very complicated area. Our Dispute Resolution team are experts in identifying claims and helping our clients to obtain the best result possible. We understand the complexity of disputes between ex-partners and will work with you to form the right strategic approach. If you need us to, we will communicate with your ex-partner on your behalf.

We are skilled negotiators and will try our best to resolve your dispute as quickly and inexpensively as possible. If this isn’t possible, we are fully capable of taking your matter to Court. The Courts have the right to decide what is fair depending upon the individual factors of each case, so it is essential that you seek expert legal advice to ensure that the right resolution is found.

Book your Co-habitation Breakdown Consultation today

We understand what a difficult and confusing time it can be if you and your partner have broken up. The last thing you want to worry about is legal jargon and lengthy court cases.

At your Cohabitation Breakdown Consultation, we will discuss:

  • Your unique situation and the factors involved, including the financial arrangement during the relationship. We’ll talk about what the intention was when you moved in, whether this is a family home, and if you took financial responsibility for any other shared assets, such as the family car.
  • Your options for making a claim. We’ll work out whether you have an interest, how much of an interest you have, and talk about how best we can help you obtain that interest.
  • The law around your case and how the law of trusts applies to you.
  • How we can help in the most time and cost effective way.

To arrange your consultation , call us today on 01273 604123 or email


Get in touch

Speak to one of our solicitors today. We would love to hear from you and discuss any legal issues you may have and how we can assist you.

Find Us

30 Old Steine, Brighton, BN1 1FL