Once again a woman falls foul of the law relating to cohabitants. Miss Curran who had been with her partner Mr Collins since they were both teenagers in the 1970s, has recently lost her case to a share of the wealth they had created in the family home and business worth an estimated £750,000.
As the assets were all held in Mr Collins name, the court has found that she has no interest. Whilst many would believe that she would be classed as a “common law wife” no such term exists in law and so the Judge hearing the case had to consider the facts and upon investigation and hearing evidence concluded that she had no legal or beneficial right to any of the assets including the business.
In my blog earlier this month Cohabitation and Self protection I set out the law as it currently stands and sadly for Miss Curran she was unable to satisfy any of these requirements. Her evidence that she “trusted” that Mr Collins would look after her if they split and that she would get a fair share has sadly been misplaced.
However there may be a chink of light for her as in the Court of Appeal Lord Justice Toulson has granted her permission to appeal. He also made the comment “that the law of property can be harsh on people usually women in that situation. Bluntly the law remains unfair to people in the appellant’s position”
Despite a consultation process being undertaken in 2011 the Government has shelved plans to reform the law relating to cohabitants. If in any doubt as to your position please contact me now.
Be aware it is easier to change the position whilst matters are amicable and you are still together than at a later date where individuals will always look to protect themselves.
- Property laws for cohabiting couples ‘unfair’, judge says (telegraph.co.uk)