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Although talk of separation may seem unromantic and counterintuitive when you’re in a happy relationship, it’s prudent for any couple to consider every possible scenario that might lie ahead. Our team of expert solicitors can provide you with advice on pre-nuptial agreements (often called pre-nups), post-nuptial agreements (post-nups), cohabitation agreements and issues related to remarriage, same-sex marriage and entering a civil partnership.

Pre-nuptial agreements (pre-nups)

A pre-nuptial agreement (or pre-nup) is a legal agreement made by you and your partner before you marry or enter a civil partnership. The content of the agreement will vary according to the couple’s circumstances and wishes. A pre-nup can set out how you will organise your finances during the marriage and how you would like your assets to be divided – along with any child and financial support arrangements – if you divorce or dissolve your civil partnership. As things stand, pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in England and Wales and the courts will not always uphold them.

A pre-nup made between a same-sex couple before entering a civil partnership is sometimes termed a pre-civil partnership agreement.

Post-nuptial agreements (post-nups)

A post-nuptial agreement (or post-nup) is a legal agreement made during a marriage or civil partnership. Post-nuptial agreements made between civil partners are sometimes referred to as post-civil partnership agreements.

Like a pre-nuptial agreement, a post-nup can enable you and your partner to protect property and other assets for yourselves and your children, and make financial and child support arrangements in case the marriage or civil partnership ends. As with pre-nups, post-nups are only legally binding if they are upheld by a court.

Providing they are upheld by a court, pre-nups and post-nups can save you and your partner the cost of a lengthy legal battle if your relationship breaks down. Our expert solicitors can help you make sure your pre-nup or post-nup is drafted in a manner that is likely to be deemed fair by the courts. This will give it the best chance of being upheld if it is challenged in court after your marriage or civil partnership breaks down.   

Cohabitation agreements (or living together agreements)

The number of couples who choose to live together without marrying has risen rapidly in recent years. A common myth is that cohabitating couples have the same legal protection as married couples or civil partners. In reality, however, there is no such thing as a ‘common law spouse’ status in English and Welsh law, and when a cohabiting couple separates the financially weaker partner does not have a legal right to maintenance, a share of property or other assets.

A cohabitation agreement (also called a living together agreement) can stipulate how your assets should be divided if you separate. It can also set out any child support and financial maintenance arrangements you would like to put in place if the relationship ends. To be legally enforceable, a cohabitation agreement must be deemed ‘fair’ in the eyes of a court and both parties must have obtained independent legal advice on the agreement.

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Briefing Notes

Expert advice on pre-nups, post-nups or cohabitation agreements

For expert legal advice on making a pre-nup, post-nup or cohabitation agreement contact our specialist family solicitors. To discuss how we can help you email or call one of our offices:

Eastbourne: 01323 435900

Bexhill: 01424 735000

Hastings: 01424 457500