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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

21 DEC 2012

Cohabitation? I know it when I see it

Sharon Mahmood

Solicitor, Burges Salmon LLP:

In the recent case of X v Y (Maintenance Arrears: Cohabitation) [2012] EWCC 1 (Fam) HHJ Bellamy reviewed the test of what qualifies as 'cohabitation' post separation/divorce.  The wife in this case went to considerable lengths to disguise the fact she was cohabiting with her new partner to avoid a termination of maintenance clause in the consent order.

This article poses the question: when does a new partner become a cohabitant?  It reviews the checklist used in Kimber v Kimber [2000] 1 FLR 383 and HHJ Bellamy's conclusion that there can be no prescriptive test for what constitutes cohabitation.

The article goes on to consider how best to approach the issue of cohabitation at each stage of financial remedy proceedings, from disclosure through to consent order.

Finally, it looks at the effect cohabitation post separation/divorce, if proved, might have on the overall financial settlement; a review of the case law and what this might mean in practice.

The full version of this article appears in the January 2013 issue of Family Law.

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