Taking the next big step in your relationship?
"It’s important to note the emphasis on the word 'agreement', since it’s not about one party imposing terms on another."
If you’re planning to get married, buy a house with your partner or move into your partner’s home, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment.
But whilst not wanting to affect the romance of these life changing events, Sue Andrews, partner, B P Collins urges couples to think carefully about the legal implications of such steps and explains why.
There is a common misconception that if someone moves into a partner’s home and contributes to the mortgage and the household bills, he or she automatically confers an interest in that property. But it does not, and if there is nothing in writing then you could be left trying to establish a joint intention that was due to happen.
Another misconception is that if you live with someone for a period of time, you have the same rights and obligations as someone who is married. This is not so. If you are planning to move in together, think about having an agreement, setting out each of your rights and responsibilities in relation to the property.
If you are planning to buy a house with a partner, then you should consider how that property is owned. For instance, if you are contributing more in terms of the deposit or mortgage repayments, are you entitled to a greater share? You need to ensure that the documentation reflects the interest you will have, because if not, you may find the property is owned by you and your partner in equal shares.
If parents are providing monies to help with a house purchase then unless those funds are a gift to both parties, consideration needs to be given as to how the property will be owned and also whether a loan agreement or any other agreement needs to be prepared to safeguard the monies provided by parents. This applies whether you are married, in a civil partnership or living together.
For those planning to marry or enter a civil partnership, you might also want to think about a pre-nuptial agreement. People often think that seeking a pre-nup (or other types of financial agreements) imply a lack of trust. But the opposite is true. A pre-nup should spark a discussion about what you both want to achieve and what would be a fair and realistic way of dealing with matters in the event of separation. It’s important to note the emphasis on the word “agreement”, since it’s not about one party imposing terms on another.
Having an open, honest and frank discussion at the outset is a great basis for a marriage or long term relationship, with respect between both parties being a key ingredient.
To speak in confidence to Sue Andrews or with a member of B P Collins’ family team, please call 01753 279091 or email your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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