According to our Marketing Director, February is the month of Love. Fluffy toys and chocolates abound, florists are rubbing their hands in anticipation and we are pretty sure the 14th will see sweet bliss and furious arguments in equal measure.
Sadly, we only usually hear about what happens when people fall out of love and want to separate. These situations are never easy, but a little thought and discussion at the beginning of a relationship can save you both heart ache in the long run!
One of the ways of sorting out what would happen if you split up is to sign a prenuptial agreement before you get married or enter a civil partnership. While the Courts do not have to uphold your agreement, judges can at least consider what you and your partner agreed to and the agreement can be valuable evidence of your intentions. If you and your partner both get independent legal advice before signing (from lawyers specialising in family law and knowledgeable about prenuptial agreements), disclose to each other all your financial information and make sure the agreement is fair (does not leave one of you much better off) then it is more likely to be upheld by a Court.
This somewhat tricky area of law, along with other post nuptial and separation agreements, has for some time been under consideration by the Law Commission which is due to report on 27th February. We will keep you posted if there is anything reported that is likely to mean changes in current thinking.
Living together Agreements
If you decide to live with someone without getting married or entering a civil partnership, the law does not give you much protection if things go wrong. Although people talk about being a ‘common-law wife’ or ‘common-law husband’ there is actually no such thing! This makes it really important to consider what you would do if things do not go to plan. One of the ways to protect yourself and your partner is to make a Living Together Agreement (sometimes called a Co-habitation Agreement), which sets out what you have agreed about how you will share your property and resources. It can help you think about how you will share day-to-day living costs and you can use it to make sure that if your relationship ended, neither of you would lose out financially.
You can read more about living together agreements here.
Thinking about prenuptial and living together agreements does not mean that you think your relationship is doomed. In fact, it makes a lot of couples feel more secure and strengthens their relationship.