Beginning a Relationship
The start of a relationship is always an exciting time and most people tend to ignore the legal implications or financial risks associated with formal and long-term relationships. We know that dealing with these matters at the outset of a relationship is not the most romantic proposition, but it can bring you reassurance and security for the future.
Whether you are entering a civil partnership or marriage with a good financial position or intending on moving in with your partner it is essential for you to consider what will happen if the relationship were to break down.
There are a variety of ways to protect your financial position in the event of a relationship breakdown.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a financial agreement between couples intending on entering into a civil partnership or marriage whereas a postnuptial agreement is a financial agreement reached during a civil partnership or marriage.
Both agreements set out in detail what will happen to assets and finances in the event of dissolution or divorce.
Despite the general thinking that such agreements are not enforceable in England & Wales, the legal position and court's assessment of such agreements has changed since 2000 and there is now significant case law that recognises the enforcement of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place will help you avoid a bitter and costly dispute in the event of a dissolution, divorce or relationship breakdown and can bring reassurance to both parties and a quick and affordable settlement if the relationship breaks down.
In England & Wales, the number of unmarried and cohabiting couples has more than doubled from 1.5 million families in 1996 to 3.3 million in 2016. This represents a significant proportion of relationships in the country.
If you are in a cohabiting relationship you may not be aware that if your relationship broke down your financial and housing position may be severely impacted. Under English law, despite the common misconception, there is no such thing as a common-law marriage no matter the length of the relationship, and you may find yourself being unable to claim a right to the family home or other assets.
Obtaining legal advice about this at the outset of a relationship or when you start living together can save you both a lot of stress and complications if you separate.
A cohabitation agreement can help you both reach agreement about assets, finances, outgoings and general expectations during the relationship, and how things should be dealt with in the event of a separation.
What We Can Do
Given the complexities and importance of prenuptial, postnuptial and cohabitation agreements it is always essential to seek advice and representation from a qualified and accredited solicitor to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and legal options.
We have extensive experience in dealing with these issues. We are members of Resolution and hold Law Society Family Law Advanced Panel Accreditation which demonstrates our knowledge, skill and expertise in this area of law.
Our Past Cases
Below are some Postnuptial and Prenuptial cases we conducted in the past:
Agreeing a postnuptial agreement between spouses after the husband inherited substantial wealth from his estate
Agreeing a prenuptial agreement between young fiancés prior to their marriage to protect each of their financial positions in the event of a divorce