Embarking upon a new relationship or marriage is an exciting time for any couple. Quite naturally during the ‘honeymoon’ period many people may not give a second thought to their current financial status nor will they consider the financial consequences of a relationship breakdown. One of the common misconceptions about marriage is that once you tie the knot your individual assets remain your own and the phrase “what’s mine is mine” can often overrule the mind.
Many may not realise that at the end of a cohabiting relationship or marriage their individual assets could be subject to division with their partner and in particular, during a divorce this is certainly the case. There are often many assets which people may wish to protect, particularly if these have been acquired individually or through the wider family prior to the commencement of the relationship. This may take the form of property, land, income, capital, pensions, inheritance or business interests. Therefore, thought should be given at an early stage as to how to secure wealth and avoid financial loss.
Cohabitation agreements and Pre-nuptial/Post-nuptial agreements are all effective methods of wealth protection amongst individuals and families and are becoming a popular way of ensuring that assets are dealt with in accordance with people’s wishes. This may not seem like a ‘romantic’ concept however, it is now more socially acceptable to have them in place and not just for those with significant wealth. Individuals are leaving themselves exposed in the absence of these agreements and the cost of preparing the document is far less than any litigation that may be faced in the event of a dispute.
At present, nuptial agreements are not legally binding in the UK however; the Courts approach has changed significantly over recent years, especially following the landmark case of Radmacher v Granatino in 2010 and with an array of case law supporting their evolution it looks like they are here to stay. Having a properly executed agreement, which meets set criteria, is key for anyone who is considering this legal advice.
For more information please contact Hannah Nicholls, Associate Solicitor, on 01562 512479 or e-mail HNicholls@thursfields.co.uk
14 Church Street Kidderminster DY10 2AH
Thursfields’ Family team are available at any of our offices and surrounding areas – Worcester, Solihull, Kidderminster, Stourport, Halesowen, Sedgley and Birmingham