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Court rules on unmarried couples’ property rights

A man and women purchased a house in 1985 and took out a joint mortgage.

It was recenlty ruled by the Supreme Court that a man, who left his partner nearly 20 years ago and has not contributed to the mortgage for 13 years, is not entitled to half the value of the house they had shared.

The highest court in the UK decided that the man was instead entitled to 10% of its value and considered this unequal split “a fair one between the parties”.

The women was challenging a Court of Appeal ruling which had previously given the man an equal share of the home’s value. The Court of Appeal had decided that the man was still entitled to half the value of the house because the couple owned equal shares and since separation neither party had done anything to change the situation. It is this decison has now been overturned.

The decision puts a fresh light on the legal landscape for unmarried couples arguing over property after separating.

It is thought there are more than two million co-habiting couples in England and Wales.

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