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Just in case!!! (Planning for the Worst)

Relationship breakdown can be messy and also costly. At Tracey Miller Family Law, whilst we mainly deal with a party once they have separated, we can also provide advice to a party who is considering entering into a relationship.

For instance, when contemplating cohabitation, it is advisable to seek advice regarding your rights upon commencement of the relationship, such as what will happen to property you own solely. It may also be prudent to seek advice regarding what may happen if the relationship breaks down. There are certain steps which can be taken to avoid unnecessary acrimony regarding property etc on the breakdown of the relationship. This involves entering into a Cohabitation agreement which can regulate the relationship and can also assist with the division of assets and belongings should the relationship breakdown.

Also, when contemplating Marriage/Civil Partnership, it may be helpful to obtain some information about protecting any assets/wealth you own before entering into the marriage. Again, there are certain steps which can be taken which may safeguard pre-owned assets and avoid unnecessary acrimony on the breakdown of the relationship. These are Pre Nuptial Agreements for people who are going to get married and a Pre Registration Agreement for future civil partners.

In October 2010 the world of family law was changed forever with the land mark decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Radmacher and Granatino. Whilst pre nuptial agreements have never been legally binding in this country, the Supreme Court in effect held that in future Pre Nuptial Agreements WILL BE upheld by the family courts on divorce unless they are considered unfair.

At present the current law for deciding financial settlements is in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and nowhere in s25 are pre nuptial agreements mentioned. Before this case, the courts did occasionally take them into account under one of the headings in s25, namely “all the circumstances of the case”, however after the judgement given in this case, on Wednesday 20th October 2010, the court will now proceed on the basis that it will be natural to infer that couples who enter into a pre nuptial agreement, intend that effect should be given to it on divorce, unless it would be unfair to hold them to it.

Should you require any further information regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.