Family lawyers from across the capital gathered at our Finchley offices on Tuesday 25 June 2019 to take part in a seminar on the wider applications of TOLATA in cohabitation disputes, beyond those relating to the division of a home.
Christopher Stirling, a Barrister at Field Court Chambers and Graeme Fraser, Partner & Head of OGR Stock Denton’s family team, offered practical guidance for other family lawyers, on the application of TOLATA in disputes with trustees in bankruptcy, creditors and estate, as well as TOLATA outside the Civil Procedure Rules and TOLATA beyond land (the common intention trust).
The speakers discussed the latest legal developments and, how litigation can be avoided by proper advance planning, strategies to adopt when negotiating these matters, and alternatives to traditional litigation.
Graeme Fraser said: Couples who live together have no automatic property rights in lifetime or on death unless they are married or in a civil partnership.
However, some people mistakenly think ‘common law marriage’ protects couples who live together after a specific time has passed. In reality, ‘common law marriage’ is a myth and the law often treats couples who live together as if they are strangers.
If a couple who live together split up, without a living together agreement, they cannot ask the courts to decide who should keep different possessions because of their status. Nor can they ask a court to order one partner to support the other financially. A partner who does not own a share of the home could find themselves homeless as a result.
Similarly, if one of them dies, the surviving partner can only inherit their property if the deceased partner named them in their Will. If they did not, the surviving partner will likely receive nothing except in limited circumstances.
Peter Martin, Consultant for family mediation and arbitration services, also gave a small talk on the benefits of using arbitration as an effective ADR and why solicitors should recommend this to their clients. For further information about the arbitration and mediation services OGR Stock Denton provides please contact Graeme Fraser on 020 8349 0321.
OGR Stock Denton LLP regularly holds seminars and events on matters of interest to clients, referrers and other professionals we work closely with.