Civil Partnerships were first introduced in the UK as a way for same-sex couples to be legally recognised with similar rights as traditional marriages. The Court of Appeal has recently dismissed an application whereby an opposite sex couple sought to challenge the provision that only same-sex couples can enter into a civil partnership.
The reason why the application was brought is that the couple, who were in a committed long-term relationship, did not wish to get married but nonetheless wished to enjoy the same legal protection which is bestowed upon same-sex couples by virtue of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which regulates the division of finances in the event of a split.
Unfortunately, there is limited protection with regard to couples who choose not to marry and then subsequently split up. if you don’t have precautions in place it can lead to costly and complicated legal battles after you separate if you can’t agree on new terms for after your separation in regards to assets or child agreements.
It may well be that in the future the Government will extend civil partnerships to mixed-sex couples but until then it is important that couples who live together give active thought as to what should happen in the event of a split.
There are options available for couples in similar situations, we offer a ‘Cohabitation Agreement’ service where we can work in conjunction with you as a couple to agree on terms for if you do decide to separate which will make the whole process smoother and easier to manage.
You may think asking for a prenup-style agreement will result in arguments- who wants to think about splitting up with their partner? However, delivery is the most important factor when bringing up a subject similar to this.
Talk with your partner- discuss your wishes to get a Cohabitation Agreement and discuss the benefits for you both, make it less about me and more about we.
The earlier you pop the question the better- the earlier into the relationship you vocalise your wish for an agreement, chances are the better your partner will take it and the less upset and offence it will cause.
Decide the terms together- it concerns you both so it would probably be in your best interest to include your partner. Nobody wants to be slapped with an agreement of terms that they didn’t discuss or agree to.
Compromise- You may both want different things from the agreement and it’s important to try to compromise in order to make this work. Cohabitation Agreements can be beneficial and effective if crafted correctly.
Services such as Trust Deeds and Mutual Wills may also be something you and your partner wish to consider. We would be more than happy to advise you on any of the above services, you can call us on 0121 233 2042 or fill out a contact form and we will get back to you.