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Protecting your future

2016 start of a New Year. If you are planning a future with a partner and thinking of taking the step of buying a home together or taking the plunge and tying the knot then have you stopped and considered what would happen if you fell out……….

Have you thought about protecting your assets be that a cash deposit for a property you are purchasing or interest in a business or have you, or are you about to, inherit some monies. Are your parents or other family members helping you to get a step on the property ladder or upsize into a bigger family home?

If any of the above apply to you then why not ensure that you have some protection against future relationship or marital breakdown.

England and Wales is one of the most generous divorce jurisdictions in the world. If you marry then there is no separate property regime as in other European countries. If you are married for a meaningful period of time and/or you have children then pretty much everything you own is up for grabs. Whilst that may not be a massive concern in your early to mid 20’s if you are starting from scratch, consider your position 10 or 15 years down the line.  It may be that you are marrying for a second time or you a little older, or have come into money and you are putting down a substantive deposit on a property or already own a house or other assets.

You would automatically protect and insure a car, a property, other possessions so why not insure a relationship…

Q. How would I do this?

A. If you are planning to marry then you could enter into a pre-nuptial agreement to ring fence property and/or assets you already own and set out in the agreement how you would protect these against future marital breakdown.

If you are already married but you are starting a business venture or being gifted, or have or are about to inherit monies, you could enter into a post- nuptial settlement to provide a similar level of protection.

If you are not planning to marry but are buying a property with your partner then you could enter into a co-habitation contract to sort out how the equity in the property would be shared, who would contribute what towards running costs, bills etc and what would happen in the event of relationship breakdown.

If you have children or plan to have children together then the agreement needs to contain provision so that the housing needs of your child/children are met as a priority or if you enter into an agreement prior to having children then they should be reviewed upon the birth or adoption of a child of the family. Agreements such as pre and post nuptial agreements cannot contain provision that would be held to be substantially unfair or be punitive to either party. Family law specialists can assist with you working through appropriate provisions to provide you with the protection you are seeking in the best possible way, whilst providing for each party in a manner which is unlikely to be held to be unfair within the confines of English Matrimonial Law.

Such agreements are not 100% automatically binding in law. What makes the difference is how they are entered into. You and your partner/spouse will need to have separate and independent legal advice. The documentation needs to be drafted in accordance with up to date precedents and contain safeguarding clauses and provisions for review.  It is therefore very important that you seek family advice from a family law specialist before entering into such an agreement.

For more information and a free initial telephone consultation contact Sally Clark or Laura Clapton at Consilia Legal LLP on 0113 357 1315 or