Cohabitant Financial Claim

Since the introduction of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 it has been possible for cohabitants to make financial claims against each other when their relationship breaks down.

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Home > Family Law / Divorce > Cohabitant Financial Claim

Cohabitation Claims

Cohabitation means that a couple lives together as husband and wife without actually being married. Following separation, one cohabitant can make a financial claim against the other cohabitant.

There are strict timescales for making any such claim. The main limit is making the claim within one year of separation. But the claim period is reduced to 6 months if the cohabitation ends in death. This can often result in a court action being raised to avoid missing out on a claim. A capital sum can be claimed by a party who has suffered an economic disadvantage. The amount to be awarded is likely to be less than in a formal divorce case.

Some cohabitation examples below:

  • Mrs. Gow was awarded £38,900, mainly for the loss of investment in the home that she had sold when she moved in with Mr. Grant
  • Ms. Wigham was awarded £250,000 following break up of a long term relationship. She had given up a promising career to raise the couple’s children
  • After Mr. B died without a Will, Ms. G had no automatic right to inherit Mr. B’s estate. Ms. G had to petition for an Appointment of Executor and then sue the Estate for payment. It was fortunate that the house was in a joint name and the title contained a survivorship clause.

To qualify as a cohabitant involves more than just living together.  Some factors to consider include:

  • Period of time living together, probably at least one year
  • Amount & nature of the time together
  • Sleeping together, eating together, socializing together & having holidays together
  • Supporting each other, including sharing finances
  • The outward appearance and behaving like a couple.


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