What rights do unmarried couples have?
My boyfriend has just left me. We have two young boys together. When our second child was born he convinced me to give up work, saying he would pay all the bills. Now he wants me to move out of our house saying I have no right to it as he's paid the mortgage and his name is on the contract. What are my rights?
John Nicholson, a partner, and Kate Clark, a solicitor, at Speechly Bircham LLP, say:
As the house is in your boyfriend's name, you will have to move out unless a court has given you the right to stay. As you have children, a court might give you permission to remain for up to six months.
It may still be possible for you to establish an interest under trusts law, for example you made a contribution to the purchase price.
Alternatively, you may be able to show that there was a common intention that you would share ownership of the property.
Parents, whether married or not, share responsibility for their children. If the father is not currently paying you child maintenance, you should contact the Child Maintenance Options (0800 988 0988) if you can't agree a figure.
You may also be able to seek an order under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989. A court can order one parent to transfer to the other sufficient funds on trust to enable the children to be housed. Such awards are made solely for the benefit of the children.