Cohabitation is an arrangement where two people are not married but live together.
In Scotland, cohabitants who separate can, in certain circumstances, make claims in relation to household goods and certain money and property and for financial provision on separation.
Section 25 of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006 gives pointers as to what the court is to look at when deciding if there is cohabitation for the purposes of the Act. These are the:
- Length of time the parties have been living together.
- Nature of their relationship during that time, and
- Nature and extent of any financial arrangements in place during that time
Sections 28 and 29 introduced the possibility for former cohabitants to make a claim upon separation or death, however there are very specific deadlines and differences in the potential claims a former co-habitant may apply for, compared with spouses.
If you have separated from your former cohabitant, you need to make your application under Section 28 not later than one year after the date on which you ceased to cohabit. Furthermore, any application under Section 29 requires to be made within six months of the date on which the deceased died.
In order to make a financial claim, the cohabitant must prove that they have suffered economic disadvantage as a result of the relationship (either in the interests of their former cohabitant or their child) or that the other has been economically advantaged as a result of the cohabitation.
The court must consider the extent to which any economic advantage is offset by the economic disadvantages suffered by the cohabitant during the relationship, and vice versa.