Buying property is always a stressful time. You would expect that buying property together as a couple would half the stress. Whilst that may be the case when packing up all your belongings for the big move, it may not always be the case if that relationship does not work out.

Our highly rated conveyancing lawyers can take all the stress of a purchase of your shoulders, but equally important is tackling the issue of an unfortunate separation. If you are purchasing or selling property whilst in a relationship it is vital to consider whether you should be entering into a family agreement in the same instance.

By family agreements we mean co-habitation, separation, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

What are co-habitation agreements?

A cohabitation agreement is an arrangement between an unmarried couple in relation to what will happen if they break up, including:

  • How the mortgage, rent, and/or bills will be paid
  • What happens to joint accounts, savings, investments, and pensions
  • How debts will be paid
  • How property and assets, owned prior or acquired after the relationship began, will be divided
  • Who gets to keep personal belongings, including cars, furniture, and pets
  • Next of kin rights

Cohabitation agreements can provide certainty for couples, potentially avoiding disputes later on if they break up. If you are choosing to live with your partner before getting married, our family law lawyers can help you agree and draft a cohabitation agreement.

What are separation agreements?

A separation agreement will be a benefit to those couples who are unsure about the future of their relationship and are unsure if they wish to separate permanently.  A separation agreement will determine the issues that the couple which to decide on at the point of separation, including how the finances or property and assets should be divided now and, in the future, and also make arrangements for children or pets.

Although such an agreement is not legally binding, if it is entered into correctly and covers all the legal bases required, should there be a Court dispute in the future it will be given weight to.

What are pre-nuptial agreements?

A pre-nuptial agreement is a document that is entered into by a couple before they marry, and it will set out how the existing or future property and finances of each person will be considered during the marriage and in the event of a divorce.

Pre-nuptial agreements are not yet legally binding in the UK but will be taken into serious consideration by the courts.

A pre-nuptial agreement is tailored to reflect the circumstances of the couple but can document who owns what, including the family home, cars, savings, investments, pensions, pets, and personal belongings such as furniture.

There are also certain things you cannot include in a pre-nuptial agreement. For example, you cannot contract out of paying child maintenance in the future and the agreement cannot be manifestly unfair (for example, it cannot leave one party financially destitute).

What is a post-nuptial agreement?

Similarly, to a pre-nuptial agreement, this is a document for married couples, however it is intended to be entered into during the marriage. This may be as the couple did not have the time to have a pre-nuptial agreement drawn up before their wedding, or there is a change in their financial circumstances which they wish to document.

Family agreements are a safeguard which many people hugely regret not having if they later find themselves in divorce court proceedings. If you are getting your affairs in order and have not spoken to a family lawyer for advice, or there are no existing family agreements in place, now is the time.

Currently, we are offering a free initial telephone consultation with our family team for new enquires. During this call we will tell you whether we can help, and what we can do next to get started. Give our family solicitors, a call now for a friendly chat on 020 8735 9770 or email our family law department at




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