Jackamans can help you at the beginning of your relationship…not just at the end

Valentine’s Day – coming up soon – is a time for romantic celebrations.  However, if you are about to make a firm commitment to a serious relationship it is often worthwhile putting thought into the practical aspects of living together from the start. Couples are full of optimism when they marry or start living together but the pressures of everyday life can put any relationship under pressure and living situations change as life progresses.  Differing expectations can cause rifts which can fracture relationships and may lead to separation and divorce.  Clear communication and agreeing expectations at the beginning can avoid this occurring and avoid unpleasant surprises.

Couples should discuss openly what their expectations are of one another at the start of their relationship. This will cover not only financial terms but also very important life issues such as whether they would like children, where they would be willing to live and work; even the division of household chores.  If potential challenges are planned for, and ways forward thought through in advance, this will strengthen partnerships and make the likelihood of staying together for life more likely – surely the ultimate romantic goal.

Imbalance can occur in a relationship when children come along and financially it makes sense for one parent to assume more child caring responsibilities.  Perhaps one person receives a fantastic job offer, which would involve uprooting the family and it would be difficult for the partner to find suitable work in the same vicinity.  Couples will have different pressure points, and the unexpected may happen years along the line, so any agreement should be reviewed either at regular intervals or at trigger events.

A Cohabitation or Prenuptial Agreement is equally appropriate for marrying couples or those intending to live together.  It may be coupled with a declaration of trust if property is owned.  There are formalities in drafting the agreement to ensure it is enforceable, and for married couples and civil partners there is a range of statute and case law to be navigated.  If you agree that such an agreement is advisable, then take legal advice from an experienced family lawyer who can guide you through to an enforceable agreement that meets your needs.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This article provides only a general summary and is not intended to be comprehensive.  Special legal advice should be taken in any individual situation.

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