The Civil Partnership Act 2004 and Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2015 updated the law to provide equality to couples in a same sex relationship. However, while the same legal rights and protection have been afford to same sex couples, similarly the English courts have confirmed that their assets should also be divided using exactly the same principals as with opposite sex couples.
Assets owned prior to the relationship and prior to the marriage or civil partnership will therefore be considered during the dissolution and if you wish for it to be excluded you need to give more serious consideration to a Pre-Nuptial Agreement.
These documents set out the terms which you both agree in the event that a relationship would regrettably breakdown, ranging from the assets and income to the debts and liabilities. Before entering into marriage or civil partnership, you should consider your assets, capital, potential income and possible inheritance. A Pre-Nuptial Agreement gives the parties an opportunity to protect not only assets acquired before meeting each other but also future expected assets in the event that the partnership breaks down.
The Agreement will lay out clearly and in detail what each party’s financial circumstances are before the marriage or civil partnership. It provides for what will happen, in terms of finances and division, in the event that the relationship breaks down and the partnership is dissolved. It is a platform upon which to understand your rights and protect yourself and feel comfortable that entering into your relationship it can be on a fair and reasonable footing.
In order to ensure your Agreement is persuasive at court:
- Each party gives must full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances;
- Each party must obtains independent legal advice;
- The Agreement is entered in to in good time before the marriage or civil partnership date (not the day or week before the ceremony!); and,
- Thought needs to be given about potential changes in circumstance such as the loss of employment, health matters or the acquisition of further assetsor debt.
The court is not bound by the Agreement, even where the above has taken place if it is manifestly unfair to one party or there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as having a child, since the Agreement was reached and insufficient provision has been made for them. Where parties have shown consistency and followed the agreement with a post-nuptial agreement or anticipated a change and made reasonable provision, the court will consider the Agreement a strong factor in establishing the fairness of any claim.
You can also contact us to discuss post-nuptial or post-civil partnership agreements too for ensuring that even after marriage ceremony has taken place your respective rights and assets are protected.
For more information contact us…
0207 426 0382