Cohabitation & Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Cohabitation

More and more couples now live together without marrying, but very few of them have a clear idea of what would happen if the relationship ended. Many people wrongly believe that after a few years together, unmarried couples gain the same rights as married couples and that there is a “Common Law Marriage”. The reality is that no such thing exists. The current cohabitation law in England and Wales is very inflexible and often leads to outcomes that, while legally correct, may seem very unfair.

Many people find that they have very few rights in relation to property or assets when they end a relationship with a cohabitant. Others may find that they have to unexpectedly compensate a former partner who has managed to gain an interest in the property

A Cohabitation Agreement (also known as a Living Together Agreement or a Cohabitation Contract) can avoid this uncertainty and risk. It sets out very clearly who owns what and what happens if the relationship ends.

Armstrong Family Law can prepare and advise you in relation to an Agreement so that you can be confident that you know what the future may hold if the worst happens.

If the worst does happen, and you don’t have a Cohabitation Agreement, we can advise and represent you in resolving the dispute with your former partner.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

Armstrong Family Law can act for you at the start of a marriage, not just the end. Pre-Nuptial Agreements (also known as Pre-Marital Agreements) are now increasingly common and have a much stronger position in law following a series of recent high profile cases.

Pre-Nups are often most useful in cases where one or both of you have already built up assets before your relationship which you are keen to safeguard. They are of enormous value for people who are marrying later in life or for the second time.

Pre-nups should not be thought of as a cast iron way to avoid an expensive divorce outcome. The Family Court has to take into account the existence of a Pre-nup, but it may decide that the circumstances of the case justify overruling the Pre-nup. However, if you haven’t got a Pre-nup to start off with, there is no chance that it can be upheld.

Pre-nups aren’t very romantic – but a little effort and expense now can avoid lots of unpleasantness and a huge legal bill later.

We can advise and represent you in relation to Pre-Nuptial Agreements, including preparing and negotiating agreements and advising you whether or not such an Agreement is in your best interests.

Please note that Armstrong Family law can only advise one party to a marriage about a Pre-nup. It is vitally important that both of you receive independent legal advice.

You should contact us about your Pre-nup in plenty of time before the wedding, preferably many months before. A Pre-nup which is completed just before a wedding may not be upheld by the court.

Read the Armstrong Family Law Blog here about pre-nups.

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