Couples choosing to live together (cohabit) is on the rise. According to statistics published by the Office for National Statistics in 2017 cohabiting couple families are the fastest growing type of family in the UK.
Cohabitees can have certain of legal rights should cohabitation end. In certain circumstances it is possible for one party to claim for financial provision from the other (within one year of separation). Claims can also be made on death of a cohabitant if the deceased did not have a Will (such claims can be made within six months of death).
Cohabitation agreements, which allow couples to contract about what will happen in the event of cohabitation ending, are becoming increasingly popular. Such agreements can set out what will happen with assets in the event of separation (e.g. a jointly owned home) and they can exclude some or all claims.
The point at which a couple become engaged to be married is a good time to consider a pre-nuptial agreement. Such agreements can ring-fence pre-martial assets and make provision for what will happen with finances in the event of separation.
While seemingly unromantic, a pre-nuptial agreement can be a good insurance policy that provides certainty and ease of mind to a couple embarking upon marriage.
Married or Civil Partners
If you are already married or in a civil partnership and wish that you had considered a pre-nuptial agreement, it's not too late. It is possible to enter into a post-nuptial agreement to regulate will happen with finances in the event of separation. If there is going to be a significant change in your financial circumstances it is worth while taking family law advice at that stage.
On separation it is a good idea to take legal advice on your options in respect of financial provision, child care arrangement, child maintenance and ultimately divorce.
A positive co-parenting relationship is something that is important to a lot of our clients. Having clear arrangements in place in respect of residence of the children, contact, holiday arrangements, child maintenance, shared costs and school fees is key to this. We can assist with such arrangement as well as any difficulties that arise.
The above are all aspects of family law on which we regularly advise on. If you would like more information or advice please contact us.