Cohabiting couples at serious risk of ‘unfair’ property laws | Uncategorized | The Law House

Cohabiting couples at serious risk of ‘unfair’ property laws

By in All Blogs, Family Law, Property Law Category on February 5th, 2013

A decision in the appeal court this week highlights how unmarried couples can be in a precarious financial position if they separate.

Even after 30 years of cohabiting, Pamela Curran has been ‘left penniless’ following a separation from the man she has made a life with since the late 1970s.

Having sought recourse through the appeal court, Miss Curran was told that she is the victim of the law and has little legal protection. Lord Justice Toulson was forced to apply the current property law but voiced his regret at its unfairness.

Miss Curran and Brian Collins had been together since the 1970s and had both worked at Collins’ kennels and cattery business. When the couple ended their relationship in 2010, the county court ruled against Curran, stating that she had no right to the home they lived in, nor a share in the business she had helped to build.

Unfortunately there are many similar cases where an implied trust is actually unenforceable in law, and while Lord Justice Toulson stated that reforms had been recommended but rejected by the Government in 2011, thousands of unmarried people could be at substantial risk.

Reforms in family law are proposed where we may see a change that better reflects this growing trend in society, but until that happens, unmarried couples are at a huge disadvantage to those who are married.

To speak to one of our family law experts about any concerns you may have relating to the risks of living together without taking protective emasures or general ‘living together’ advice, please contact a member of our team on 020 8956 2655 or email us at