While the courts have a broad discretion to achieve fairness on divorce, when the parties are not married, the strict laws of property apply. The way the law is applied depends on how the way in which the property is owned
Sole Ownership – A common scenario is that a property is owned by one unmarried party, but the other party has lived there for a long time and has financially contributed. Generally, if the property is only in one person's name, the other person is not automatically entitled to anything, no matter how long they have lived in that house. The exception to this is if they can establish that they have a legal interest, usually in the form of an 'implied trust', The solicitors at Sugare & Co use our skill and expertise to ensure all legal avenues are considered and that your interests are served.
Joint Ownership - Unless there is a deed of trust which sets how the property is owned, the law will assume that both parties own it equally. This is the case even if one person has made a larger financial contribution. However, it is sometimes possible to argue that the property is not owned in equal shares if the circumstances dictate this.
If one person is contributing more money toward the purchase of a property, it is sensible to have a deed of trust drawn up at the time of the purchase to make it clear that one person owns more.
You should consider severing the joint tenancy if you have separated or intend to sepaate and hold the property as joint tenants.