Scotland is alone in the UK in providing a legal framework setting out the rights of cohabitants to make a financial claim on cessation of cohabitation by reason of separation or death.
Yet the law remains confused and it is often difficult for solicitors to give clear guidance to clients on the level of any potential claim.
The rules about the financial consequences of cohabitation introduced the following rights:
1. rights in certain property;
2. the right to apply for financial provision when a relationship breaks down;
3. the right to apply for financial provision when one of the cohabitants dies.
It is important to appreciate from the outset that unmarried couples living together do not have the same rights as married couples and civil partners. The Act provides a set of basic rights to cohabitants, but recent court decisions have shown that these rights still fall well short of those enjoyed by married couples.