… you move in to your boyfriend’s house, have a baby together, and then split up…?

  • Your ex doesn’t have to pay you maintenance for your own benefit except in very limited circumstances), even if you’ve given up work to look after the children or your home, but will still have to pay child support.
  • If you rent and the tenancy is in your ex’s name only, you will have no automatic right to stay if your ex asks you to leave or walks out. If your ex owns the home (and there’s no other agreement) you will have no automatic right to stay if your ex asks you to go but may be able to stay as this is the child’s home.
  • If there’s no other agreement in place, your ex will walk away with all the savings and possessions he built up. If you bought things together but each contributed different amounts to the price, you own the things in the shares in which you contributed.
  • If the child’s birth  was registered after 1 December 2003, then provided his name is on the birth certificate, he has parental responsibility for the child.

… your partner died suddenly after you had been together for years, but hadn’t left a will…

  • You won’t automatically inherit anything, including the family home if it’s not in your name. However this would not be the caseif the home is in your name or you own it jointly as ‘tenants in common’.
  • You will not get any state bereavement benefit or a state pension based on a percentage of your ex’s National Insurance Contributions (which could be a big problem if you have given up work to look after the family);
  • If what you inherit is worth more than £325,000, you will have to pay Inheritance Tax.

Thanks very much to Punam Denley, a partner at the International Family Law Group LLP for reviewing and to David Hodson, also partner at the International Family Law Group LLP, who reviewed an earlier version which appeared in A Parent’s Guide to the Law by Jon Robins (LawPack , 2009).  Stephen Lawson, a litigation partner at Forshaws Davies Ridgway LLP assisted with the section on the CSA.

Author: Jon Robins

Jon is editor of the Justice Gap. He is a freelance journalist. Jon’s books include The First Miscarriage of Justice (Waterside Press, 2014), The Justice Gap (LAG, 2009) and People Power (Daily Telegraph/LawPack, 2008). Jon is a journalism lecturer at Winchester University and a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln. He is twice winner of the Bar Council’s journalism award (2015 and 2005) and is shortlisted for this year’s Criminal Justice Alliance’s journalism award

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