Nowadays many couples live together ‘as if they are husband and wife or civil partners’ but do not formally marry. Under s.25 of the Family Law Scotland Act 2006, this is the legal definition of a Cohabitant.
Cohabitants are not afforded the same legal rights as married couples or couples in who enter into Civil Partnerships in Scotland. Instead, one party can make a claim against the other if they have experienced an economic disadvantage during the relationship, while the other party has benefitted financially. There are strict timescales for a cohabitant to make a claim against the other party following their separation.
For information on What happens to joint property when cohabitation ends click here.
Similarly, in the event of death of one party, the surviving cohabitant can make a claim against the estate of the deceased, provided that the deceased did not leave a Will and that the claim is made within the strict timescale of 6 months from the date of the deceased’s death.
In order to protect your assets, prior to living with your partner, we would advise you to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement. To find out about Cohabitation Agreements please see our blog.
If you require expert legal advice in relation to Cohabitant’s Rights or Cohabitation Agreements in Scotland, contact our Family Law Lawyers in Glasgow on 0141 221 1919 or via our online contact form here.