Prenuptial and Cohabitation Agreements

Considering getting married or moving in together? You can protect yourself and each other, and plan for the future, with a legal agreement in place.

Tracey Miller Family Law specialises in providing expert legal advice to couples ready to take the next step in their relationship.

With over 25 years of experience, we’ve established ourselves as one of the best family law solicitors in Liverpool and the North West. We can help with everything from divorce and civil partnerships to child custody and financial matters.

legal cohabitation agreement

We can help you draw up a Cohabitation Agreement or Prenuptial Agreement to suit your circumstances. Our expert team can also guide you smoothly through any disputes or legal proceedings following the ending of a relationship.

Our philosophy is that it’s never too early to plan for the future. Cohabitation and prenuptial agreements that are amicably arranged early on can reduce emotional and financial challenges later, in the event of relationship breakdown.

To find out how we can help you, why not call us on 0151 515 3036 or 07795 060 211? Alternatively, you can fill out our ‘Call Back’ form and we’ll call you back at a time that’s more convenient for you.

We offer a free, no obligation and no time limit initial consultation. We’ll chat to you about your circumstances, and suggest a route forward.

What are cohabitation agreements?

Are you thinking about moving in together? Cohabitation is becoming more and more popular in the UK, where couples live together without tying the knot.

If you’re planning to live with your partner, it’s important to seek reliable family law advice. This can help you to to fully understand your rights as both an individual and couple.

We know how exciting it is to move in with that special someone, but now is the most opportune time to seek legal advice regarding what happens if the relationship does unfortunately break down.

There are certain steps which can be taken to avoid unnecessary acrimony regarding property and assets on the breakdown of the relationship. This involves entering into a cohabitation agreement which clearly sets out the division of assets and belongings.

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What does a cohabitation agreement cover?

Cohabitation agreements represent one of the most important legal protections for unmarried couples who live together. They’re legal documents which set out what will happen to finances, property and children if you should split up.

They’re similar to prenuptial agreements. These are drawn up before marriage to protect assets and property, in the event that the relationship should end in divorce.

A cohabitation agreement covers things like:

  • What happens to jointly owned property. For example, who gets to live in the family home, how much of a share each person will get if the property is sold, or what happens in the case of rented property. It can set our arrangements for both property brought into the relationship,and for property acquired during the relationship.
  • Who will be responsible for debts, mortgage repayments and household expenses, and in what share?
  • Children’s matters. This includes arrangements for residence, access and contact, including co-parenting arrangements.
  • How money in shared accounts will be divided. This included current and savings accounts, investments and other joint financial products.

The aim is to ensure that all the boxes are ticked. So if separation does happen, there won’t be unnecessary stress or disagreement when key decisions need to be made. Everything has already been discussed and decided in advance. This should make separation just a little less painful, and enable you both to move on with your lives as

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Are cohabitation agreements legally binding?

Cohabitation agreements are legally binding in England and Wales, but only if:

  • Drafted and executed properly
  • Set out and signed as a deed
  • Both parties have been honest about your finances
  • Both parties have obtained separate legal advice about the terms of the agreement.

So while you can decide together on all the key things to be included in your cohabitation agreement, you will need legal advice from a family law expert to make a legally binding agreement.

You’ll both need to enter into the agreement voluntarily, and be upfront about your assets and finances. Any agreement you make must also be kept up to date with any major life changes. So if you have a child, buy a home together or anything else happens, you’ll need to reflect the change in your cohabitation agreement.

Find out more about cohabitation agreements and the law by contacting Tracey Miller Family Law. Our experienced team of family law solicitors are happy to answer all of your questions, on everything from cohabiting and prenuptial agreements to divorce and children’s matters.

What are pre-nuptial agreements?

Are you planning to get married or enter a civil partnership? Congratulations!

Whilst it may not be the first thing on your mind, now’s the best time to get some reliable information about how to secure any assets or wealth you own.

There are steps which can be taken to safeguard pre-owned assets going into marriage or a civil partnership. These are called pre-nuptial agreements, or prenups. They’re designed for people who are going to get married and pre-registration or pre-partnership agreements for future civil partners.

Crucially, this kind of agreement can help to avoid unnecessary disputes if the marriage should end in divorce.

As one of the top divorce lawyers in Liverpool, we’re specialists in prenuptial agreements. We’ve helped countless clients to draw up an agreement and get all of the legal steps out of the way before the big day. With our help, newlyweds can fully enjoy married life in the peace of mind that their assets are fully protected.

If you need help with a prenuptial agreement or making an inventory of your assets, we’re here to help. Get in touch to arrange a consultation.

What does a prenuptial agreement cover?

A prenuptial agreement can be tailored to your specific circumstances. But generally, they tend to set out what will happen to money, property and assets following a divorce. They cover things like:

  • Property – including what happens to the family home
  • Money – how savings and investments are divided
  • Debts and ongoing finances – who will be responsible, and in what share
  • Inheritance – assets intended to pass on as inheritance can be ring-fenced in a prenup, and future wealth protected.
  • Children – the agreement may set out what rights children have to any property or assets owned by their parents.

Are prenuptial agreements legally binding?

Whilst pre-nuptial agreements have never been legally binding in the UK, they are increasingly being upheld in court due to them becoming more ‘mainstream’.

The law for deciding financial settlements is in section 25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. However, nowhere in this section are pre-nuptial agreements mentioned.

However, in October 2010 the world of family law was changed forever with the landmark decision by the Supreme Court, in the case of Radmacher (German) and Granatino (French). 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.

For a prenuptial agreement to be upheld in court, it needs to be:

  • Entered into freely
  • Fair to both parties
  • Contractually valid
  • Made at least 28 days before the wedding (and may require 2-3 months to prepare depending on complexity
  • Based on full and honest disclosure of each party’s financial circumstances
  • Not prejudicial to any children.

Both parties must understand the implications of the agreement in full before signing it.
To make sure your prenuptial agreement is legally sound, it’s crucial to get legal advice you can trust. Contact our expert divorce lawyers in Liverpool to discuss your circumstances and we’ll help you draw up a watertight agreement.

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Family law solicitors in Liverpool – how we can help

Here at Tracey Miller Family Law, we don’t just do divorce. Our expert family law solicitors can support you will all the legal aspects of entering into or ending a relationship.

We’re by your side whatever your circumstances. This includes those happy and sad occasions, whether you’re getting married, entering a civil partnership, or moving in together, or you’re facing divorce or separation.

Our compassionate team of family lawyers will work closely with you to find out more about your situation. You can rely on us to provide practical and reliable legal advice on your financial position, your assets, and the arrangements for your children.

Our top divorce lawyers in Liverpool specialise in all aspects of family law, including:

  • Divorce
  • Judicial Separation
  • Children’s Matters
  • Financial Matters
  • Civil Partnerships
  • Cohabitation
  • Pre-Nuptial/Cohabitation Agreements
  • International Family Law
  • Resolution

We can help to draw up legally binding cohabitation agreements, as well as ensuring prenuptial agreements stand up in court. We’ll assist you in making an inventory of your assets, talking you through the best legal arrangement to protect yourself whatever happens.

If you’re navigating financial issues, such as dividing assets after separation, we’re in your corner whether it runs smoothly or there’s a dispute.

Crucially, we can also provide advice on children’s matters, such as residence and contact. If you and your ex-partner can’t make an informal arrangement between you on child custody, it may be necessary to involve the courts.

We aim to find the best resolution for the good of your family, taking a constructive and non-confrontational approach at all times.

Divorce advice

Do I really need a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement?

When deciding whether to get a cohabitation or prenuptial agreement drawn up, it’s important to think about what could happen if you don’t have one.

If you bring assets into a marriage which then ends in divorce, you could end up financially worse off without a prenuptial agreement. Similarly, if you move in with a partner and you separate, you may face protracted disputes over shared property, savings and other assets.

As experienced divorce lawyers in Liverpool, we’ve sadly seen so many cases like this. No one is in a position to make fair and rational decisions during a painful separation. So it could be a mistake to wait until the worst should happen. It’s far better to sit down together in advance, and create a carefully considered plan that covers all eventualities.

Some people see legal agreements like these as unromantic. They feel it could damage their relationship to even discuss the prospect of it ending one day. Other people simply never get round to making an appointment with their local family law solicitor.

But in actual fact, cohabitation and prenuptial agreements can be seen as a caring and thoughtful gesture. Think of this kind of agreement as a way to:

  • Protect each other
  • Plan for the future – whatever happens
  • Respect each other’s rights and property
  • Put arrangements in place for your children, including residence, contact and co-parenting plans
  • Help to prevent arguments or disputes later on.

Cohabitation agreements are particularly helpful for unmarried couples who live together. There’s a misconception that cohabitees have the same rights as married people, or people in a civil partnership. But this isn’t the case.

Unlike divorce, where there are laws governing the division of assets, cohabiting couples who separate simply don’t have the same rights and protections.

How can I protect my assets during a divorce?

A prenuptial agreement is one of the best ways to protect your assets during divorce. You’ll also need good legal advice to make sure you’re making the right decisions, at the right time.

We’re proud to be one of the best divorce solicitors in Liverpool, helping people protect their assets and make informed decisions in the best interests of the whole family.

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What is alimony and how is it determined?

Known as spousal maintenance in the UK, alimony refers to financial support provided by one party to the other. It’s usually awarded by the courts when one party is unable to support themselves without payments from their ex-partner. The person making the payments is usually the spouse with the higher income.

Spousal Maintenance is calculated based on the recipient’s needs, and the income of both parties.

How does property division work in a divorce?

What happens to property during divorce varies depending on the case and your circumstances. Depending on the length of the marriage ( which is calculated from the date when both parties cohabit and subsequently marry, to the point of divorce) the court is likely to use a 50/50 split as a starting point for anything 7 yrs.+ , the object is to try and give both parties a fair share depending on their respective incomes, pensions and other assets, which will allow both party’s needs to be met. However, it can be more complex if property was inherited or brought into the marriage by one party, or acquired post-separation.

To find out how we can help you, why not call us on 0151 515 3036 or 07795 060 211? Alternatively, you can fill out our ‘Call Back’ form and we’ll call you back at a time that’s more convenient for you.