Joanna Toch writes exclusively for Female First about the rights of cohabiting couples who are single.
Cohabiting couples: you don’t need to put a ring on it, just be sure to sign on the dotted line
It appears that fewer Brits are putting a ring on it. Main figures from the ONS program that since 2003, the variety of unmarried heterosexual couples in the UK has increased by 700,000. The figure now stands at 2.9 million, making this the fastest growing family type– and 1.2 million of these households have reliant kids.
Yes, you could argue that marriage is just a piece of paper. But with this confirmation comes olden legal rights, and monetary defense should your relationship break down. As a non-married cohabiting couple, the rights you have when it pertains to the ownership of the house you live in are very murky.
The first thing to consider is whether the home is signed up in your joint names at the Land Registry or in one name just. There will be a presumption that this legal ownership is appropriate and that person can remain in the property if you divided and get the equity if it is offered.
But that isn’t completion of the story. There are two forms of ownership: legal and equitable. Legal ownership suggests your name is signed up as an owner. Equitable ownership offers you the very same advantages but your name is not taped on the legal title. The most simple means to establish this is by a trust deed– the time to have this ready is at the time of purchase of the home and have it registered on the TR1 (home transfer) type.
It is likewise possible to develop an equitable interest by arguing there was an arrangement to share the property advantages that did not get recorded in writing. This is when things start to get unpleasant, and really commonly personal. The courts will then examine whether there has been a ‘typical objective trust’, either by parties making a contract verbally, or more controversially, by looking at how each person has lived their lives.
Occupation, Child, or Trust Order– the courts will still decide
You could have the ability to get an ‘occupation order’ from the court if you can settle that the ‘balance of harm’ is in your favor to remain in the property short-term utilizing the Family Law Act 1996. If you have kids and you are the primary carer, you can apply to live there until the youngsters are grown up using the Children Act 1989.
Whether you make an application for a profession order, youngsters order or trust order, the courts have a broad discretion. This area of law is ripe for reform since cohabitants have a hard time to comprehend their legal rights. The Law Commission has in truth suggested that the law be reformed. This was pushed by family lawyers, with a bill presented last October, but hasn’t received government backing.
Up until the laws surrounding cohabitation rights change, or, at the minimum, end up being clearer, the very best thing to you can do to protect yourself is to regulate your position by making a composed trust, or a cohabitation contract.
These written contracts aren’t popular due to the fact that they are totally unromantic. It seems that those who choose not to sign the marital relationship register are those who appear equally careful about signing anything else. In many cases I have experienced big suffering, which might have been quickly prevented with a bit of preparing at the start.
The sad fact is that purchasing home jointly without a marital relationship certificate or a written arrangement is making lawyers rich and keeping judges busy.
Family Arbitration can save a mediated divorce from crumbling into a nasty costly court fight, so should more mediators be focusing on it as a resource for their clients?
In the very first of a short series of short articles, how family arbitration could become a powerful new device in the mediator’s toolbox is explored, as it has done over the pond in the United States and Canada. In part two, whether it conserves the client cash and whether the arbitrator’s decision is always enforceable by law is examined, and part 3 will deal with the probability of family arbitration growing strongly in the UK, or will it go the way of collaborative law, which (up until now) is still mainly unidentified by the public as an alternative for navigating divorce?
Family Arbitration is the newcomer in the family law neighborhood in England and Wales, and the potential benefits to separating clients are tremendous. Family arbitration has triggered interest by people like New York Mediator Ken Neumann, who has explained how useful arbitrators could be in un-sticking a mediation process. “Sometimes,” he described, “the couple can not settle on one problem, and they simply really want someone else to decide for them.”.
An outstanding talk offered by UK Arbitrator Mena Ruparel is persuading some that the increase of family arbitration in the UK was a cause worth supporting. Several arbitrators were contacted through e-mail on a Friday evening resulting in a cascade of responses by the Monday morning! The interest was self evident for arbitration among a wide range of family law experts who have certified as family arbitrators, ranging from barristers, mediators and collective attorneys.
In other parts of the world, including the United States and Canada, when a mediation process founders, an arbitrator is brought in if the couple desire it, to resolve the argument for them. This is also how it can work here – but currently not enough solicitors are notifying divorcing couples properly of this alternative.
When a Mediation fails to bring contract on all aspects of the divorce, instead of ending up in court – where the whole process can untangle and start right back where you started, losing all the contracts already made – with a Divorce Arbitrator that single sticking point can be fixed. And quickly (compared with waiting months for a court date).
Some feel sadly this is not presently possible in the UK if the Collaborative Law procedure gets stuck – it is just an option for mediation, which can advance after the issue has been chosen by the arbitrator.
Even if a financial planner gives clear advice on how a pension could be split or the division of home possessions, it might be that the social events would like an adjudication from the Arbitrator who will compose their award and make a legitimately binding decision. The Arbitrator can also handle discrete aspects of a case so if there is a mediation where there is one issue that has to be dealt with, this can be described arbitration keeping the remainder of the agreement in tact.
We recommend that even with the potential benefits of arbitration, you will benefit from the advice of a specialist family law solicitor. We can make a suitable recommendation in your locality.
The wife of a hedge fund tycoon is seeking hundreds of millions of pounds in what could be the largest divorce award ever made in a British court.
Lawyers for Jamie Cooper-Hohn, 49, argue that she is entitled to half the property, shares and businesses held by her husband, Sir Christopher Hohn. The couple had four children, including triplets, before she petitioned for divorce in March 2012.
The dispute extends to the true value of their personal wealth, which has been estimated at as much as $1.4bn (£817m). Cooper-Hohn’s lawyers argue that she is entitled to a 50/50 split; his lawyers have offered her 25%.
Hohn, 47, the son of a Jamaican car mechanic who attended Southampton University and then Harvard, runs The Children’s Investment (TCI) Fund Management (UK), a hedge fund which mainly returns profits to a charitable foundation. TCI controls investments worth around $8bn, including holdings in Moodys and Royal Mail.
The charity established by the couple, the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), is believed to hold $4.3bn and is chaired by US-born Cooper-Hohn. The couple have been described as the UK’s most generous philanthropists. Last year CIFF pledged to spend more than £500m tackling childhood malnutrition around the world, during a summit hosted by David Cameron.
Following an appeal court hearing last month, which dismissed expert evidence on the value of hedge fund management companies, lawyers for the couple began presenting their cases in the family division of the high court on the 30th June.
The couple have said they live relatively modest lives, given their wealth. She denies enjoying a jet-set lifestyle; he has described it as being more of a “Swatch” lifestyle.
The couple, who met at Harvard, married in 1985. Much of their personal wealth is in the form of a stake in the TCI hedge fund. She claims the holding is worth £870m; his lawyers insist it amounts to £64.3m.
In the earlier court of appeal case, Hohn argued that his former wife should receive only a quarter of the assets because he was the “key man” who had made a special contribution to the accumulated wealth.
At that hearing, Hohn’s counsel, said: “… the husband was the sole decision-maker in this enterprise, makes all the investment decisions and is the regulated person as far as the Financial Services Authority is concerned. Without him there is no business.”
The QC, representing Cooper-Hohn, said: “He has spent his whole life making money; he has generated $5.7bn. It’s not in his character to simply walk away.”
The appeal court judges were told that the couple’s assets comprised of investments in TCI of $1.15bn, other disputed TCI entities, investments of about $30m, pensions worth about $85m and properties worth $36m.
The UK has gained a reputation as the divorce capital of the world because of the multi-million-pound settlements awarded to former partners. Sir Paul McCartney was required to pay Heather Mills £24.3m after four years of marriage. Beverley Charman, the former wife of John Charman, an insurance magnate, recently received £48m.
Many high net worth individuals have secured very favourable financial settlements through our service.
The largest payout to date is the estimated £100m-£200m believed to have been made to Galina Besharova by Boris Berezovsky, the exiled Russian oligarch who was found dead last year.
The case continues.
Former High Court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss has criticised the Government over cuts to legal help for dealing with personal family law disputes.
In her very first Lords speech since being appointed to lead the coalition Government’s questions into allegations that establishment figures conspired to cover up child abuse, she alerted the cuts “block the courts” and “create delay”.
Lady Butler-Sloss dealt with calls yesterday to step down from the questions after reports that her sibling Sir Michael Havers tried to prevent ex-MP Geoffrey Dickens airing claims about a diplomat in parliament in the 1980s.
But the Prime Minister supported her and Lady Butler-Sloss refused to give up.
Today, in a discussion on the UK’s legal systems, the former president of the family department and independent crossbencher welcomed much of the family regulation presented over the last 25 years.
But she said the “bad” part was that from April there had actually been no legal aid in private family law disputes, including youngsters and finance, with the exception of those involving domestic violence or child abuse.
Lady Butler-Sloss said divorce was a “unpleasant process” for all but in a small minority of cases the former relationship turned “corrosive” with one or both previous partners using the courts to combat their failed relationship.
Some disliked their partners so much that they could not come to any arrangement and mediation would not work in these conditions.
She said men and women, inexperienced in the law, battling their failed relationships, were appearing unrepresented before the courts due to the cuts.
Courts faced with “provider bags of unsorted and disorganised papers” discovered the task “huge and unmanageable”.
“It obstructs the courts. It creates delay and I hope the Government would pay attention to the reality it is not cost effective.”.
Lady Butler-Sloss added: “We have Magna Carta celebrations next year and they will sound hollow in the face of the failure to be able to do justice in private family law disputes.”