Separation after long cohabitation: common issues

In this article Elizabeth Darlington considers three keys issues which frequently arise when a couple have cohabited for a long time, or they have been separated for a long time before the courts are asked to deal with their property and financial issues.

These are:

1) constructive trust claims where one property is purchased in the sole name of one party, including discussion of Curran v Collins;

2) purchases of a property in the couples joint names where there are unequal financial contributions, one party for example paying a substantial deposit, and whether this can be set aside on the grounds of undue influence. This is particularly topical in light of increased awareness of economic abuse and coercive control and increasing numbers of vulnerable litigants, including the elderly;

3) occupation rent: there have been a number of significant decisions recently regarding occupation rent, including Bailey v Dixon and Ali v Khatib which are necessary to consider where parties have been separated for a significant period of time and where one party has remained living in the former family home.

This article was published in the December issue of Family Law Journal.

Since the article was first published Mr Hudson’s appeal, refered to in the article, was considered by the Court of Appeal on 14 December 2022 and dismissed, but for reasons which differed from those given by Kerr J. which included that detrimental reliance is still a requirement in establishing a constructive trust.

Read the full article via the link below.

Elizabeth Darlington

Elizabeth specialises in property and family finance cases. Her practice focuses on the financial consequences of relationship breakdown (whether marriage or cohabitation) and property disputes between family members generally. She is recognised as an expert in applications involving cohabitees (including under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 and Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989). She regularly appears in both the Family Court and the Business and Property Court. 

She is an IFLA Arbitrator and a mediator (civil and commercial; ADR group accredited).

To instruct Elizabeth please contact our clerking team via email or call us on 0207 797 7900.

Link to the Full Article

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