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Divorce & Separation

Pre-Civil Partnership Agreements and Post-Civil Partnership Agreements

Civil partnerships now carry exactly the same legal weight as marriages in the United Kingdom. The Supreme Court decision in 2010 means that pre- and post-civil partnership agreements are now enforceable in the UK. For any couple entering a civil partnership, especially high net worth individuals, it’s important they consider pre- and post-civil partnership agreements to protect their wealth and assets.

What is a pre-civil partnership agreement? 

A pre-civil partnership agreement is a contract that outlines what will happen if the partnership ends in dissolution or separation. It’s a way for both partners to protect their assets (including investments and pensions), decide how future finances will be split, and make any arrangements for children. Read more about child provisions upon civil partnership dissolution.

The agreement is enforceable through the courts in the unfortunate event of a relationship breakdown, provided it has been entered into in the correct way with the correct legal advice for both parties. It functions to give both parties autonomy to decide what will happen to their assets.

Why is a pre-civil partnership agreement important?

If there is no pre-civil partnership agreement when the relationship breaks down, the court can decide to split the assets in a way it deems fair. Sometimes, it may even take into account wealth and assets acquired before the civil partnership was entered into to make sure the needs of the other party are met. This means it is extremely important to consider a pre-civil partnership agreement if you’re looking to protect your wealth, especially if you’re a high net worth individual.

Read our legal library and family law guides for more expert information on family law.

Is a pre-civil partnership agreement legally binding?

As long as pre-civil partnership agreements are entered into properly, under independent legal advice, they’re likely to be recognised in court. The criteria for their recognition in court is that:

  • Each partner makes an informed decision under no pressure or coercion.
  • Each partner understands the implications of the document.
  • The agreement is entered into with reasonable time before the ceremony (generally 28 days).
  • Both parties give full financial disclosure.

If all these requirements are met, the court will accept the agreement.

Choose Austin Kemp for your pre-civil partnership agreement

We can help you make sure your assets are protected by providing you with advice from our expert solicitors, and can help to draft and enforce your pre-civil partnership agreement. We are also experienced negotiators, and can manage those, sometimes difficult, discussions with the other party. We are also here to review your pre-civil partnership agreement to make sure it is still fair throughout your civil partnership, for example, if you have a child.

We will advise you on every aspect of your agreement to give it the best chance of being adopted by the courts. Plus, we’ll make sure your provisions don’t fall into any of the pitfalls that could cause them to conflict with existing law, such as ensuring the pre-civil partnership agreement has future flexibility. We are specialists in dealing with the international assets of high net worth individuals and can help make sure you protect these important parts of your wealth as well.

Read our story, discover more reasons why you should choose Austin Kemp and contact our solicitors for more information.

When should you act?

We would recommend that you contact us at least six weeks prior to the date of your civil partnership (longer if you have significant overseas assets). This way, we can ensure that there is enough time for both parties to get independent legal advice so there’s a mutually acceptable agreement.

What is a post-civil partnership agreement?

A post-civil partnership agreement is an agreement made during a civil partnership. Its function is either or both of the following:

  • To regulate the couple’s financial affairs during the relationship.
  • To decide how their assets should be distributed if they separate.

Post-civil partnership agreements allow people who have entered into a civil partnership to have greater control over what happens to their wealth, including their investments and their pension pot, in the unfortunate event of a relationship breakdown.

Why is a post-civil partnership agreement important?

If you haven’t signed a pre-civil partnership agreement before the ceremony, it’s still possible to sign a post-civil partnership agreement. However, in the event of the civil partnership breaking down with no pre- or post-civil partnership agreement, the court can decide how to share out your assets in a way that it deems to be fair. This may take into account wealth acquired by one person, even before the partnership began, and can ultimately result in a 50:50 split. A post-civil partnership agreement gives you the chance to have a say about how your assets should be divided.

How long will a post-civil partnership agreement take?

The process will take at least a month to complete (it’s likely to be longer if you have significant overseas assets). It shouldn’t be rushed into without the correct legal advice for both parties and mutual financial disclosure, as this can render a post-civil partnership agreement invalid.

Austin Kemp can help with your post-civil partnership agreement

We can provide legal advice at any time throughout your civil partnership to make sure your assets are fully protected. Post-civil partnership agreements can take into account your financial situation, including protecting your pension funds and investments;  we’ll provide you with the correct legal advice so that your agreement can be upheld by a court in the unfortunate situation of a relationship breakdown. We also understand the importance of international assets within post-civil partnership agreements, and can provide specialist advice with regard to this.

It is important that your post-civil partnership agreement is reviewed regularly to make sure it is still meeting both parties’ needs and is still fair. For example, it would be necessary to review the agreement if you have a child. Choosing Austin Kemp means our team of legal experts will be able to review and update your agreement where necessary, making sure you get the outcome you want.

We are able to advise you on your post-civil partnership agreement whether your relationship is breaking down or you just want to make sure your future is secure. Both parties will require independent legal advice, and our specialist solicitors at Austin Kemp can help you through the process. This includes negotiating discussions with the other party, which can sometimes be difficult.

We are able to prepare a draft post-civil partnership agreement for the other party to consider, or we can also review an existing agreement. See our testimonials and success stories for more happy clients, and get in touch with our solicitors to see how we can help you.

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