In this article
What is a 'long marriage'?
There is no legal definition of a long marriage, but a marriage is usually seen to be long if lasting for over 10 years. Moreover, the couple should have significant financial ties to one another, although there may be arguments that can be raised to rebut this.
Who owns the property when living together but not married?
The way in which an unmarried couple owns a property will be important in determining how it is split. They can own a property in two ways:
- Joint tenants; or
- Tenants in Common.
If the parties are joint tenants, then the parties will have an indivisible share in the property. This means that meaning that neither party owns a specific percentage. If this is the case, the parties may need to make an application to court to determine their respective shares.
In contrast, if the parties are tenants in common, a Declaration of Trust would have been prepared. This sets out how much of the property each party owns, thus making clear what each party is entitled to and helping the parties avoid a determination from the court.
Using a TOLATA application.
Couples that are living together but not married may be unable to come to an agreement on how to deal with their property.
If so, a party can make an application to court under TOLATA by:
- asking the court to determine each parties’ respective share if they are joint tenants; and
- asking the court to make an Order for Sale.
If successful, you’ll then start to establish who owns what shares of the property.