Disputes tend to arise in respect of the family home, rather than in respect of other property, because a home is a valuable financial asset and because it provides a roof over the family's head. Disputes about the family home may arise in the following situations;
On relationship breakdown; if the parties are spouses or civil partners any dispute can be settled by the court using its statutory discretionary powers on divorce or dissolution, nullity or judicial separation. Cohabitants, on the other hand, have to use the law of equity to settle a dispute
On Death- If there is a will, then that determines the parties' property rights. Where there is no will (on intestacy), surviving spouses and civil partners have a statutory right to succeed to the deceased's estate. Cohabitant's on the other hand, have no rights of succession, but they can bring a claim under the Inheritance (provision for family and dependants) Act 1975
Where the Interests are Not defined- where there has been no mention of the parties' respective interests on the conveyance, the court may have to determine the matter.
Where a Third Party seeks Possession- Where a third party such as a purchaser, mortgagee or trustee in bankruptcy)seeks possession of the home, a spouse, civil partner. partner cohabitant or other family member may claim an interest in the home under a trust in order to defeat the claim to possession.