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High Court rules that woman has no claim on her partner’s home

The High Court has ruled that a woman who cohabited with her fiancé cannot claim a share of their home following the breakdown of their relationship.

While they were together, the couple had started a business running an equine centre. He bought a property and some land and she helped by providing him with a loan.

The woman then decided to leave her job to concentrate on the equine centre. It remained her partner’s business, however, and its losses were covered by his account.

When the relationship broke down, the woman claimed that she had been promised a half share in the equity of the property. She submitted that she had played a major role in renovating and developing it and that entitled her to a beneficial interest. She said she would never have given up her career if she had not been promised that half the property would be hers.

The court held that the woman had helped to develop the property but her role was not as significant as she had suggested. More importantly, there was no evidence to show that she had been offered half of the property. Her former partner had not said anything that could reasonably be taken as promising her a beneficial interest. Her claim therefore had to fail.

The case illustrates the need for cohabiting couples to draw up agreements to protect their interests in case their relationship breaks down. Please contact us if you would like more information.

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