Moving in together is an exciting step, but you should be aware that your legal rights as one half of a couple will be different than if you were married.  Generally you will have far fewer rights if you have not formalised your relationship in the eyes of the law.

For those who simply do not believe in the institution of marriage, civil-partnership is now an option which allows you to enjoy similar legal rights without the religious ceremony or vows.

If you are living with someone you care about, we strongly recommend that you enter into a Cohabitation Agreement to protect each other and any children you might have.

If you are planning to get married or civil-partnered and have business interests, a well-established career, family wealth or children from a past relationship, we recommend that you consider a Pre-Nuptial Agreement or Pre-Registration Agreement

The discussions that you will have when you prepare your Cohabitation Agreement, Pre-Nuptial or Pre-Registration Agreement will help to ensure that you have reasonable expectations about your respective roles in your relationship.


Examples of Recent Cases

  • Advising on a Pre-Nuptial agreement to be drafted in preparation for our client’s marriage where both parties had existing children and significant assets.
  • Advising the son of a wealthy international family on a Pre-Nuptial Agreement where there were jurisdictional issues to consider as well as future inheritance and significant wealth acquired prior to the relationship.
  • Helping a seriously ill client to negotiate a settlement in excess of 50% of the value of a jointly owned property following the breakdown of a long-term relationship.
  • Achieving a favourable result through negotiation for the applicant in a complicated cohabitee dispute where both parties had invested financially, but land and property had been purchased in the respondent's name alone.
  • Resolving child maintenance and care disputes involving two children of an unmarried couple who both have SEN and sensory disorders and agreeing maintenance at a more appropriate level than required by law.

Do I really need a Cohabitation Agreement?

For unmarried couples living together, a Cohabitation Agreement clarifies the ownership of shared property and assets. 

The discussions you will have when you prepare your agreement ensure you are both on the same page and have realistic expectations about the contribution you will be making to your relationship.

It will also help to protect you from unwelcome surprises down the line, which can be important if you have or intend to have children. 

You can read more about preparing or varying Cohabitation Agreements here.

Do I need a Pre-Nup / Pre-Registration Agreement?

A marriage or civil-partnership is a legal contract which essentially splits your assets 50/50 with your partner.  If this does not reflect your mutual intentions, it is sensible to confirm you are in agreement by setting out your finances in advance. 

We always recommend Pre-Nuptial Agreements and Pre-Registration Agreements for business owners and anyone with family wealth or pre-existing assets, such as properties and pensions, as well as parents who wish to ensure that children from a previous relationship are protected financially.  For your agreement to be upheld, it must meet certain criteria, learn more here.

When might I need a Post-Nup or Post-Registration Agreement?

A Post-Nuptial Agreement is a legal contract drawn up between you and your partner after you are married or registered as civil-partners.  They are commonly used in place of a Pre-Nup, or where there is a change in circumstances which is not addressed in an existing Pre-Nup.  For example, a Post-Nup may be required if you go into business with another person to prevent the business from being considered as part of your marital pot.

Learn more about how your relationship can affect your business by watching the replay of our webinar for Fresh Business Thinking here.

For an initial discussion about your situation, please call us on 020 7993 2936 or Get Started Online.

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