Valentine’s Day is a day of romance and it has been statistically proven that marriage proposals skyrocket around this time, unsurprisingly with romance in the air. However, before taking the next step in your relationship, keep your feet on the ground and consider the legal implications that come with moving in together or getting married. It will seem inconceivable now that your relationship might end but thinking about your legal position should this happen, could save you money and further heartache in the long run.
The myth of ‘common law marriage’ is, unfortunately, still very much alive and many people wrongly believe that they will automatically be entitled to share in their partner’s assets upon separation or death.
The law is still somewhat behind the times regarding cohabitation, even though cohabiting couples are the fastest growing families in the UK, and this can have a detrimental effect on the financially vulnerable party.
If you are co-habiting it is important to consider how you would intend to divide assets upon separation or divorce. This can be incorporated into a Living Together Agreement which, if properly prepared, will be legally binding. The Agreement can address ownership of property and what will happen to the assets should the relationship break down.
If you are engaged to be married, you may want to consider entering into a pre-nuptial agreement to attempt to protect assets that you owned prior to the marriage.
A pre-nuptial agreement is a formal; written agreement between the two parties that must be entered into at least 21 days before the marriage. It can set out ownership of belongings and financial assets as well as specifying how they would be divided in the event of a marriage breakdown.
Although not automatically legally binding, if the Pre-nuptial Agreement has been entered into freely, with appropriate financial disclosure and each of the couple has had independent legal advice then the courts are likely to afford heavy evidential weight to it. As there are certain specific requirements in relation to the preparation of pre-nuptial agreements, we would strongly suggest that these are prepared by a solicitor to give the best chance of being followed by a Court upon divorce.
If you would like advice on how to future-proof your relationship from a legal point of view, speak to one of our specialist family solicitors in Bristol or London. Call 01179 906 9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org