Prenuptial Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements: What you need to know

Living together, getting married or entering a civil partnership, they are all big steps to make in a relationship. Making the commitment is an exciting time with lots of planning on the agenda, however making agreements in the event of a separation is something often overlooked.

It may not be romantic to consider but it’s a smart, sensible and practical step to make in securing assets. Discussing a prenuptial agreement ahead of getting wed or a cohabitation agreement if you are moving in together is important as it will reduce any emotional or financial stress should circumstances change in the future.

We caught up with the friendly experts at Dodds Solicitors to find out more about the benefits of ‘planning for a divorce before you’re engaged’. Although it might sound risky, it’s a concept that’s gaining traction, as it means all parties can be clear about the relationship they are entering and confident in their part in the partnership – in better times and worse.

PRENUPTIAL

Often regarded as only for the rich and famous, prenuptial agreements (also referred to as ‘pre-nups’) are becoming increasingly common: a recent survey carried out by YouGov has even shown that Generation Z (those born from 1996 onwards) are more likely to enter into a prenuptial agreement than previous generations. While the youth of today may be more aware of the benefits of an agreement, it’s not always been widely thought about with the 40plus demographic – and it should be, as with around 40% of weddings in the UK being second or subsequent marriages, those that have been there and done that once or twice before may want to get added protection this time around, as they’re likely to have amassed assets over the years.

While no one enters a union thinking it will end in divorce, it unfortunately does happen and safeguarding your future with a mutual agreement before you make those vows should be discussed to save later disagreements and simplify the process should it not work out well.

Simply speaking, a prenuptial agreement is a formal, legal contract that outlines how property, income and other assets and It is important to seek legal advice from a solicitor to give advice and draw up a fair contract.

Creating an agreement is a chance to be proactive and it should be considered for factors including but not limited to protecting inherited money; safeguarding substantial savings; if either party owns a business; or even if you have children from a previous relationship, ensuring assets and their inheritance rights are secure.

“Whilst pre-nuptial agreements may be one of the last things to consider when you’re in love and intending to marry, they can be essential in situations where you wish to protect assets or income acquired before your marriage, whether it be a second marriage or inherited assets. A clear pre-nuptial agreement prepared with legal advice can carry weight when difficulties arise in the future post marriage”,says Ashin Topiwala of Dodds Solicitors.

If you are getting married and require a prenuptial agreement please contact Ashwin Topiwala on 0116 2628596 [email protected]

COHABITATION

Cohabiting couple families are still the fastest growing family type here in the UK, with an increase of 25.8% over the decade 2008 to 2018 according to the Office for National Statistics. Contrary to
popular belief, there is no such thing as a’common law marriage’ and living together without being married means you have considerably less rights than those that are. The assumption, we’ve all been brought up to think is that a long standing and cohabiting relationship acquires similar rights to those that have tied the knot, but this is unfortunately not the case.

To make sure you and your partner are protected in the events of a split, it is worth considering entering into a Cohabitation or Living Together Agreement. Although not a legal requirement, an agreement will cover what should happen to property, children, personal possessions and even your pets should the relationship end. They can be particularly useful if partners have made unequal contributions to the purchase of a property, one partner owns the property, or it is owned by someone else. If you move into a property owned by your partner, you have no automatic rights, even if you contribute to the mortgage whilst living there. If you buy it together, the ownership is assumed 50/50 irrespective of how much you each contribute.

It’s advisable to discuss in the early stages of cohabitation to ensure everything is covered and seeking legal advice to take the next steps can offer you both peace of mind.

“It is always a good idea to have that difficult conversation with your partner about what will happen if you split up in the future. If you specify what you would want to happen in the future it can cut out a lot of uncertainty and save you having to pay for legal advice in the future,” advises Sarah Spence of Dodds Solicitors.

If you are thinking of moving in with your partner and would like a cohabitation agreement please contact Sarah Spence on 0116 2628596 or email [email protected]

Dodds Solicitors is at Friar Lane, Leicester, LE1 5RA. Tel 0116 201 8566 www.dodds-solicitors.co.uk

Dodds Solicitors LLP is a Limited Liability Partnership and is registered in England and Wales Partnership (No OC364487) Registered Office is 32 Friar Lane Leicester LE1 5RA

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