Monday, 6 August 2018

Could Civil Partnerships be on the horizon for all couples? In the meantime, what can the rest of us cohabiting couples do to protect our finances?

The Supreme Court recently ruled in favour of Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan, whereby a panel of 5 Supreme Court Justices declared that the Civil Partnership Act 2004 is “incompatible” with their human rights and amounts to discrimination.   
Steinfield and Keidan believe that the institution of marriage is sexist and patriarchal and sought a judicial review of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, as it does not permit couples of the opposite sex to enter into civil partnerships.  As we already know, the Civil Partnership Act 2004 provides same sex couples with the same legal rights afforded to married couples upon dissolution or divorce.  
Time will only tell as to whether the Government will act upon the ruling and amend the current legislation one way or the other.   
In the meantime, according to the office of national statistics, cohabiting families were the second largest family type in the UK at 3.3 million families last year. So, what steps can cohabiting couples currently take to protect their financial position?
Here are a few suggestions which could avoid the need for costly Court Proceedings:
  1. Cohabitation or Separation Agreements – These are contractual agreements that record the parties’ intentions regarding the finances of their relationship while they live together and also if the relationship breaks down.  It is important that such documents are drafted correctly to avoid their validity being called into question.    
  2. Declaration of Trust – if you have made an unequal contribution towards the purchase of a property, you may wish to consider recording the contribution by entering into a Declaration of Trust recording what should happen to the proceeds of sale if the property is sold.   
  3. Make a Will – If you do not make a Will your estate will pass under the rules of Intestacy which will mean that your cohabitee will not benefit in any way which may not accord with your intentions. 

For more information or if you would like to book a free initial consultation, call Georgina Catlin at ABD Chippenham now on 01249 478333.