Unmarried couples do not have the same rights and obligations as their married counterparts. Common law marriage does not exist in Guernsey and there are no specific laws for people who live together, no matter how long. On separation, many issues can arise including ownership of real property, personal property and children.
Disputes regarding houses or land are complex and require specialist advice, including how the property was purchased as this is likely to have a major impact upon how the sale proceeds are divided. If you are in any doubt before you purchase a house together, you should seek your own independent legal advice.
As for personal property, this can include bank accounts, investments, house contents, cars and boats. In the absence of clear evidence to the contrary, the general rule is that ownership remains with the purchaser. Disputes as to ownership of personalty rarely come before the court, as the cost of such litigation will usually exceed the value of the item.
In relation to children, unmarried parents can apply to the court for parental responsibility, residence, contact, specific issue and prohibited steps orders in much the same way as married parties.
(For further information, please see ‘Children’)
Please note, website content cannot be regarded as legal advice. If you have any doubt as to your legal position, Browns Family Law will be happy to advise.