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Family law

Pre-nuptial and pre-cohabitation agreements

We can advise you on the merits of entering into a pre-nuptial agreement, or pre-cohabitation agreement, in advance of your marriage or moving in with your partner.  These agreements can be a fantastic way of protecting your assets and they are legal and fully enforceable in Scotland. 

Pre-nuptial agreements

These are agreements entered into by couples in advance of their marriage.  As unromantic as you may think they seem, they could save an awful lot of heartache in the longer term.  They can be particularly useful in the following situations:

  • This is a late marriage for one or both of the parties and they own property already, or have savings, investments or a pensions built up before the marriage;

  • This is a second marriage and there are children from a previous relationship whom you might want to make sure inherit from you rather than the assets going to your new spouse and then their family;

  • One party has interests in a business, especially a family business, which they want to protect;

  • One party has inherited wealth already which they want to protect. 

Like most things, pre-nups can be used for all sorts of purposes, but the most common use is to ring-fence pre-marital assets, and the proceeds of sale of those assets, for the future and to prevent those assets, or more importantly the proceeds of sale of any of these assets, from being the subject of any divorce claim. 

You should think about it as early as possible as we find the earlier a couple deals with it, the easier it is.   

Post-nuptial agreements 

These are the same as pre-nuptial agreements but what many couples don’t realise is that these types of agreements can even be entered into after you are married.  In fact, if your circumstances change during your marriage (for example if you came into a large inheritance) then you should consider a post-nuptial agreement. 

Pre-cohabitation agreements 

Since 2006 cohabitees have the right to make a claim against their ex-partner on the cessation of their relationships.  For some the uncertainty of the legal framework is unattractive.  We can advise you in relation to setting out your own agreements regulating what is to happen should your relationship come to an end.  For many couples this means simply contracting out of the legal framework altogether.  This gives you peace of mind at a time when you are considering moving in with your partner, especially if you are purchasing a property together for the first time, perhaps.   

We regularly advise individuals who are thinking about taking the next step in their relationship and moving in with their partners.  We can discuss with you how best to protect yourself at this stage of your life.

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