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What are your rights as an unmarried couple or parties who have purchased a property together in relation to a property dispute?

Here at Jamieson Alexander, we understand that separating from a partner is difficult at the best of times let alone when both parties own a property together and a dispute arises over how the property should be dealt with as part of any separation. 

Whilst married couples can rely on family law legislation, this is not the case for unmarried couples or parties that have purchased a property together.  The legislation that applies in these circumstances is the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA).  This Act provides the Court with powers to assist with determining disputes arising in relation to property ownership.

Under TOLATA any person who owns or has been led to believe that they own a property or a share of it, whether verbally or in writing, may be able to make an application to the court for an order to determine how any dispute arising in relation to that property should be resolved.

When considering an application under TOLATA the court will consider several factors including the intentions of the parties at the time the property was purchased, whether it was purchased in the names of one or both/all of the parties, the purpose for which the property was purchased, the interests of any children who occupy the property as their home and the interests of any third parties. 

How can Jamieson Alexander help?

If you and your partner are considering or have made the decision to separate and you are looking for advice and assistance in relation to your rights regarding any jointly owned property, our Property Litigation team here at Jamieson Alexander have the expertise to be able to provide guidance and detailed information on your rights in relation to the property.  This may include rights of access, determining your likely shares in any jointly owned property and if necessary, making an application to the court to force a sale of the property in order for you to attain your share in the property if you are having difficulty agreeing this.

Our solicitors can assist with any independent legal advice and are happy to have an initial call to discuss how we may be able to help.

If you would like to discuss any of the above or would like our help, please contact Kerri Hunter on 0330 460 6099 or


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