Pre – Nuptual Agreements
More and more people are entering into marriage and civil partnerships later in life and they often bring with them substantial assets. In addition, there are more people marrying for the second and third time, who want to provide for children from previous relationship/marriages as well as any children from their new relationship.
How does a Pre Nuptial Agreement work? A Pre Nuptial Agreement is a written contract that is entered into by both parties setting out the division of assets and provision for the children in the event that the union breaks down before they become legally bound by marriage or civil partnership. Both parties must have taken independent legal advice and have disclosed their financial circumstances before agreement is reached and any document signed.
Although Pre Nuptial Agreements are not enforceable in England and Wales, the courts have a discretion about whether or not a Pre Nuptial Agreement will be upheld. In recent cases, these have been taken into account and in some cases have been given significant weight.
There is no such thing under the law as common law marriage. You can live together for many years as “husband and wife” without acquiring any legal rights to the home if it is held in the sole name of your partner. Unlike spouses, you will not acquire any legal right to maintenance. In certain circumstances, the courts in England and Wales have held that if you contribute to the mortgage or rental payment or you have contributed in some other way financially, you may have gained a right to a share in the house. Even if you do not want to enter into a contract, just by thinking about and discussing how to deal with any future events can help a relationship by allowing you to work through major decisions together. Here are a few things you may wish to consider:
- How will you deal with any property you may have acquired before the relationship and any property you acquired during the relationship?
- Are you intending to keep your financial affairs separate or will you pool your resources.
- If you have any children of the relationship, who will they live with if you separate? How do you want them to be educated and do you wish them to be brought up within a religious faith?
- Consider making a Will. Unlike spouses, you have no automatic rights to the estate of your partner.
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