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Cohabitation and Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Protecting your assets in advance

For a glossary of terms you might come across during this process, please click here.

 

Why take the risk of a messy divorce or separation? Why not agree in advance what the financial consequences will be in the event of a divorce, dissolution or break-up happening further down the line?

Pre-nuptial (‘pre-nup’) and pre-civil partnership (‘pre-cip’) agreements

Do you have more money than your partner? Do you have family assets or inherited assets? Do you have children from a previous relationship whose interests you want to protect?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may wish to consider putting an agreement in place before getting married or entering into a civil partnership.

Are you being asked to enter into such an agreement by your future spouse or partner? Are you unsure as to what you should agree or if you should agree at all? We can help with that too.

Although these agreements are not automatically binding in England and Wales at the current time, if certain safeguards are taken, they are more likely to be upheld. Some of the things you need to ensure are that:

  • the document is signed at least four weeks before the wedding or civil partnership;
  • there is financial disclosure;
  • both parties are entering into it freely; and
  • both parties have independent legal advice.

We can represent either party throughout the drafting process and the negotiations.

It is also very important that the pre-nup or pre-cip provides for the financially weaker party to get a fair settlement, even if it is less than what s/he would get if there were no pre-nup or pre-cip. We can advise you as to what a fair settlement would be and how that would differ if there were no agreement.

Post-nuptial (‘post-nup’) and post-civil partnership (‘post-cip’) agreements

If you are already married or in a civil partnership and think you should have entered into a pre-nup or pre-cip, do not worry: it is not too late. You can enter into a post-nup or a post-cip agreement instead. Similar considerations will apply as for pre-nups and pre-cips.

Is your relationship in difficulty but you do not yet feel ready to break up? Have you suddenly inherited or been gifted a large sum of money that you want to keep separate from your partner? Have your personal circumstances changed since you were married/had a civil partnership, or even since your last pre-nup/pre-cip or review thereof?

If so, you may want to consider putting a post-nup/post-cip agreement in place.

We understand that this may be a very difficult subject to broach with your partner and we will handle your matter in a sensitive and pragmatic way.

Cohabitation agreements

What if you are moving in with your partner but are not getting married or entering into a civil partnership?

It is very important to think in advance about how you wish to own your property, and you need to think about who would retain what if you were to break up.

If you are buying a house in joint names but you are putting in more money than your partner, do you want to ensure you get more out of the property if you break up and sell it?

If you are the financially weaker party, do you understand the risks you are taking if your partner is buying the property in his/her sole name?

This is a very complicated area of law and so timely and specialist advice is essential. We are experts in this field and can ensure that your interests are protected in case the worst does happen.

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