Few people enter into a long-term commitment to someone else thinking about it all going wrong.
Marriage, civil partnerships, moving in together or having children are big, positive steps to take with another person. Raising the subject of legal rights may not seem appropriate, but it’s something you should think about. That’s particularly so if there is a significant difference in your financial positions.
There are ways of protecting yourself from the financial effects of a break-up. Prenupt ial agreements, pre-registration agreements and cohabitation agreements set out what should happen – especially about money and property – if your marriage or civil partnership ends, or if you are cohabiting and decide to separate.
Legal Advice on Pre-nuptial/Pre-civil Partnership Agreements:
A cohabitation agreement, if properly drawn up, works like a contract so that each party is bound by its terms. Prenuptial and pre-registration agreements, however, are not binding in England and Wales (meaning they can’t be enforced as a contract), but can be taken into account by a judge in deciding how assets should be shared and practical arrangements put in place. That’s because these agreements are good evidence of what you and your partner intended to happen if you were to separate. If one of you subsequently wants to depart from the agreement then you will need to show why this should be done.
For the court to take a prenuptial or pre-registration agreement into account you have to show that:
- you both had independent legal advice
- you both disclosed fully and frankly to each other the details of your financial position
- neither of you has been pressured to enter into the prenuptial or pre-registration agreement. (This usually means you should both have had plenty of time to decide what to do, and that you signed any prenuptial or pre-registration agreement at least three weeks before your wedding or civil registration.)
Listen to our legal advice video on civil partnerships and same-sex marriages below:
Becoming a parent brings with it all manner of responsibilities. Being clear on your legal position in relation to your child, including who is able to make important decisions about them, is vital. That is because not all parents have parental responsibility – the legal right to make important decisions affecting their child, including choices about their education and the health.
If you are a parent living with your child, or separately, then we’ll tell you about parental responsibility; whether you have it, what it means and how you can obtain it. We advise all types of families, including same-sex parents and families created through assisted reproduction like IVF.
Our advice is clear and independent, and based on many years’ experience of children, families and the law. If you are dealing with a difficult issue to do with divorce, children, or any other family situation and need specialist family solicitors in London to advise you, we are here to help.
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