What are separation rights?

Separating from a partner can be tough, and unpicking a shared life can be messy, expensive and stressful.

And, when it comes to dividing assets, such as the home you have shared, emotions can often run high, with both parties feeling they have a claim to the property.

One way to help you to stay in control of your emotions, and to manage expectations, is to understand your rights and what, by law, you can expect to be entitled to when separating.

Your separation rights, what you can expect as…

A married couple/parents

If you are married and/or have children together you are entitled to share your partner’s assets.

In real terms, this means a legal right over any property, even if you are not the legal owner.

In separation cases involving children, the children’s welfare and wellbeing is always the priority and as such the partner considered to be the primary caregiver will usually be allowed to stay in the family home. The primary caregiver is the parent who looks after the children the majority of the time.

Cohabiting partners

If you were unmarried when your relationship broke down, what you will take from the relationship when you separate will largely be down to what you brought to it.

Contrary to popular belief, in England and Wales, simply living together for a period of time does not automatically give you rights to your partner’s assets.

If, for example, your co-habiting home is in your partner’s name, irrespective of the bills you have paid/and or financial contributions you have made to the property, legally it belongs to your partner and as such you will not be entitled to a share of it.

You could of course, take your partner to court and argue that your contribution entitles you to a slice of the property, this can be difficult to prove but should you be successful you would be recognised by the court as able to continue living in the property and entitled to a share of any profits when it is eventually sold.

Owners of a property together

Joint ownership sees both parties have a legal stake in their property. Ownership need not be 50:50; one partner could have a greater stake than the other and this is reflected when the property is sold, and any profit is split.

The process of separating

From the outset, it may be worth obtaining legal advice on how to proceed when separating from your partner. Here at Smith Partnership, our experienced team of family solicitors can support you every step of the way, including drafting separation deeds, obtaining injunctions and drafting pre-nuptial agreements to ensure that from the outset of the relationship, legal matters are clear.

If you’d like to find out more about the legal services offered by Smith Partnership, don’t hesitate to contact us via info@smithpartnership.co.uk. Alternatively, speak to a member of our team directly on 0330 123 1229.

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