We at Paradigm Family Law recognise the increasingly popular approach of looking to reach an agreement as to how the finances should be divided in the event of a divorce. Especially after the well known Supreme Court decision in Radmacher , we noticed that more couples are signing Pre-Nuptial or Post-Nuptial agreements. This is not anymore the privilege of the rich and famous. We have considerable experience with domestic and foreign prenups and will assist you to clarify your rights under the agreement if you are considering a divorce. Your matter will be handled by James or Frank sensitively and with the utmost confidentiality.
With more and more people preferring to live together rather than getting married it may be surprising to know that the law does not recognise this partnership in any other way than a civil contract between two independent people. Married people have the protection of the Matrimonial Causes Act and the Courts who are willing to make Orders, which are fair in the circumstances. Cohabitees have no such protection and the law of property governs their situation. The decision of the Courts can only be based on fact and there is very little scope for the Courts to make a decision which is fair and just in the circumstances. With 1 in 2 marriages ending in divorce it is likely that as many cohabitation relationships also breakdown.
Taking time to agree what is to happen should the relationship fail can save you thousands in legal costs and heartache in the future. Did you know that if you purchase property jointly and do not stipulate what percentage you hold the property then the law assumes you own it equally? It is irrelevant who has paid the deposit, who paid for any home improvements or even who paid which outgoings relating to the property. Is that fair?
An agreement can contain terms about issues the court has no authority to determine. For instance who is to remain in the property until it is sold, how is the outgoing person to be compensated if the property is to be transferred into the other party’s name and who is to pay the mortgage and other household expenses in the meantime.
Matters can be further complicated when there are children involved. Did you know that unless you hold the property as tenants in common then your children will not inherit any benefit from the property on your death? The surviving party may meet someone else and have other children – where does that leave the first born?
These are some of the issues that should be discussed and agreed upon and then drawn up in an agreement. It may seem unnecessary when the relationship is a stable and happy one, but there are no guarantees that it will continue indefinitely.
The home is most probably the most expensive possession you will own and no one thinks twice about obtaining life assurance, income protection, buildings and contents insurance, so why do people buy properties without a cohabitation agreement?
Paradigm Family Law can help you to draw up a binding agreement to cater for these eventualities and protect you and your loved ones.