In a case which outlines the importance getting legal advice when going through a divorce, a woman who cohabited with her partner for more than 18 years has won a legal battle with his estranged wife for a share in his home.
Joy Williams faced legal action from her partner’s estranged wife after her partner Norman Martin passed, However, when he died, she faced a legal challenge for his assets as he never legally divorced his wife. Due to this, his share of the property he owned with Ms Williams automatically passed to his wife, Mrs Martin.
However, a judge at the Central London County Court ruled that this should not be the case and that his share should go to Ms Williams. Mr Martin and Ms Williams had bought a property in 2009 as tenants in common, as a result, when he passed three years later, his share of the property was not transferred.
Despite the ruling, Mr Martin’s former wife has insisted that she will challenge the ruling.
Importance of a Cohabitation Agreement
Judge Nigel Gerald ruled that Ms Williams had brought the claim forward for "reasonable financial provision" and the outcome was a “fair and reasonable result.”
The case outlines the importance of obtaining a divorce following separation to protect other relationships in the future. While many people opt to cohabit, cohabitants do not have the same rights as those who are married, thus, if you have been married and are not separated, your spouse could receive your assets rather than your partner.