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If you live with someone as if you were man and wife or in a civil partnership you are a cohabitant.

Prior to Cohabitation

If you are buying property together it would be advisable to enter into a cohabitation agreement to set out how matters are dealt with in terms of ownership, mortgage payments, repairs and even daily bills.  This will set out what happens to various assets and rights you may be entitled to in the event you decide to separate. 


If you didn’t enter into a cohabitation agreement prior to becoming cohabitants and you separate you may be able to make a financial claim against your ex-cohabitant. 


The rules governing the claim a cohabitant can make are complex and require a detailed examination of your lives together.  It is essential if you are contemplating a claim that you seek advice as early as possible. 


The court weighs up the financial advantages and disadvantages both parties have received from the relationship.  You should compile as much information about the financial positions of both of you at the start of the cohabitation and at the date of separation, to enable an examination to take place to establish if you have a potential claim. 


If you are a cohabitant and your partner dies you do not have automatic rights to their estate.  You must ask the court to give you a right to some of their estate. 


Although the law is under review currently you only have one year from the date of separation to make a claim under the Family Law (Scotland) Act.  Outside of this one year period it can be very difficult to make your claim. 

The deadline for raising an action, following the death of your cohabitant, with the court is six months from the date of death.  It can be hard at times like these to think about the future but it is imperative to protect any claim you may have as early as possible. 

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