News Article

Obtaining evidence on a cohabitation dispute.

The law upon interests in houses under trusts if you separate after living together is complex. Please e mail family solicitor Michael.brennan@piplaw.co.uk to request the summary contained in Cheshire solicitors Stonehewer Moss cohabitation fact sheet. Proceedings at Court to establish, or to defend, an interest in a house can be  expensive and stressful. How can the matter be looked into  while limiting that cost risk?

The first point to emphasise is that any case intended for Court must be approached by reference to pre action protocols   that encourage a cards on the table approach. This is an opportunity to sort the wheat from the chaff. Contact us via our website to arrange a no obligation discussion with a view to specific advice or to negotiate for you, including a letter before action to the other party, request for disclosure of relevant documents, consideration and offer to settle in writing or at meetings with your opponent in a cohabitation dispute.

What if our carefully drafted letter before action, stating your case for an interest in the house you shared when in cohabitation, receives no reply and no agreement to disclose documents? Is it necessary to speculate and expend potentially large sums by issuing a full blown claim at Court? Not necessarily. It is possible to apply to Court for an order that the other party make pre action disclosure.

The rule for pre action disclosure is found at Rule 31.16 Civil Procedure Rules. The application needs to be supported by a detailed statement setting out the potential claim, which must be arguable and more than merely speculative, and detailing the relevant documents sought. The Court must be satisfied such documents would be relevant to any full claim.

The test to establish whether to order disclosure is:-

 

  1. Will it further the purpose of disposing fairly of the anticipated proceedings;

 

  1. Is it likely to assist the dispute to be resolved without proceedings?

 

  1. Is it likely to save costs?

The Court has a discretion to make the order and it is in interesting to speculate what the view of the Court will be if the other party in a cohabitation dispute to seek sale of the house and a declaration of your interest in the house has declined an invitation to mediate.

Application to Court always has costs risks; the party that loses is likely to be summarily assessed to pay the legal costs of the winner. Care taken with letters will assist, hopefully encouraging an open approach without the need to apply to Court.

What documents are relevant depends on the issues in a cohabitation dispute but the following classes are likely to help:-

 

  1. Mortgage applications;

 

  1. Mortgage payment statements;

 

  1. Bank statements;

 

  1. Purchase receipts and invoices for work done on the property;

 

  1. Utility bill if assisting to show shared arrangements;

 

  1. Council tax records

 

  1. Solicitors sale and purchase files.

For further advice, to negotiate your case or for representation at Court in Cheshire following cohabitation contact our family solicitor via our website www.stonehewermoss.co.uk.

Tel. 01606 872200 e mail Michael.brennan@stonehewermoss.co.uk

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Stonehewer Moss Family Solicitors, Citadel House, Solvay Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 4DP

Family and Corporate Solicitors Northwich covering Chester, Crewe, Knutsford, Macclesfield, Middlewich, Northwich, Runcorn, Sandbach, Warrington, Winsford, and across Cheshire.

Stonehewer Moss Solicitors is a trading style of the Stonehewer Moss Limited, Registered in England No. 542 6583
which is a firm of solicitors authorised and regulated by the the Solicitors Regulation Authority No. 471159

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