Woman denied the security of being a wife awarded a property by Judge

“A mother-of-three whose ‘dominating’ older partner refused to marry her ‘in case someone better came along‘ has been awarded the profits from the sale of his £1million house.

A court heard Kirsty Cahill, 33, was still at school when she met property developer, Stephen George Farrer, 53, and was ‘besotted by, wholly dependent on and trusting of him’.

Mr Farrer put almost £140,000 into buying the Colliers Wood house in 2007, which cost nearly £500,000, and the judge said there was ‘no doubt’ it was an investment property. 

She had three of his children but he ‘publicly humiliated’ her by getting down on bended knee in front of the whole family – before whispering in her ear that he wouldn’t marry her.”

This is an important decision which indicates the way in which the courts now look at cohabitation particularly where there are children involved.  However, it is not to be taken as saying that in all cases the court will make a similar decision.  Each case is fact specific and cases involving unmarried couples are not family cases (unless the application is made under the Children Act) and strict civil law rules apply.  This means the court does not have the extensive discretion available to a family court judge.  No doubt the judge in this case took into account the age of Ms Cahill when she formed her relationship with Mr Farrer, his overall wealth, his controlling and  manipulative behaviour  but perhaps most importantly the fact that they have children together.   I doubt the court would have reached the same conclusion if they had not had children.  What this case does highlight is the lack of security that an unmarried mother has when compared to a wife.