These days many people choose to live together rather than marry. There is a long-held myth that by doing so the parties obtain rights over their partner’s property and other assets and are therefore entitled to a share when they separate. This is not automatically the case.
However, in certain circumstances, such as financial contribution to the purchase of by paying the mortgage then the non-owning partner may acquire “a beneficial interest” in the others asset.
Such claims are invariably complicated and expensive. It is very important to seek legal advice to check whether you might have a claim which is worth pursuing.
Such claims are rarely resolved within 12 months, unless very simple and costs can be in the region of £2,500 for an initial investigation and advice rising to tens of thousands if a Court has to decide the issue.
If Court proceedings are to be issued it is normal practice to ask a Barrister to prepare the technical claim documentation and this typically can cost between £1,000 to £2,000 plus VAT. The initial Court fee depends on the value of the claim and is followed by further Court fees at subsequent stages.
Both parties will have to disclose all relevant evidence and documentation and make witness statements.
The claim will then be listed for a final hearing date when the Circuit Judge will decide the outcome.
The loser usually pays the lion’s share of the winner’s costs as well as their own so it can be an expensive gamble.