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Areas of Practice

Matrimonial Finances

Matrimonial Finances - How we can help

BG Lawyers LLP can advise you on the financial implications of your marriage/relationship breakdown and get you to a final division of your assets as soon as possible.

 

We will give clear advice on the view the court is going to take in relation to the division of the relationship assets.

For example:

  • Property
  • Family run businesses
  • Partnerships
  • Public Companies and share options
  • Assets in businesses, real estate and trusts
  • Pensions

 

Consider, with you, what the level of our involvement in your case should be.

For example:

  • Have you already reached a settlement with your partner?
  • Are you looking for advice before you negotiate on your own behalf?
  • Do you want our Family Law team to represent you at court hearings about financial issues?
  • Do you need help in constructing a practical settlement proposal?
  • Advice on providing appropriate referrals from our strong professional network of contacts

Cohabitation

Cohabitation is when a man and woman, who are not legally married to each other, are living together as husband and wife.

 

There is no law governing this relationship. "Common law husband or wife" is just a social saying and has no legal validity.

 

BG Lawyers LLP take particular care when advising cohabitees and ensure that any advice covers maintenance, property and children.

 

Maintenance

There is no legal obligation for one party to provide maintenance for the other. This does not affect child maintenance.

 

Children

Financial assistance for children is sought through either the Child Support Agency or through The Children Act 1989 Schedule 1.

In a cohabitation situation only the mother has automatic Parental Responsibility for the child. Since December 2003 a father has automatic Parental Responsibility if his name is registered on the birth certificate at the time of registration. A father can acquire

 

Parental Responsibility by:

  • Entering into a written agreement with the mother
  • Making an application to court
  • Marrying the mother of the child

 

A father can apply for Contact, Residence, Specific Issues and Prohibited Steps orders as he is deemed a "parent" under The Children Act.

Property disputes

Property can be acquired as Tenants in Common or Joint Tenants. As tenants in common, the parties' share in the property will have been established from the outset. If the property was purchased as Joint Tenants or if the property is in one name only then the parties' respective contributions to the purchase price, payment for significant building work or mortgage payments will need to be ascertained.

Contributions, by the non owning party, by way of paying bills or food shopping will not establish an interest.

 

The sale of a family home can be postponed if there are dependant children under the age of 19 and in full time education. The non owning party can only remain in the home if they are responsible for the children.

 

A cohabitee does not have automatic rights to a deceased partner's pension or their estate. Specialist advice should be taken to safeguard the cohabitee's future.

Living together agreements

A Living Together agreement needn't be like a celebrity pre-nup, where you don't want your partner to waltz off with your Beverly Hills mansion and a recording contract after 15 minutes of marriage. They aren't about "this is mine, that is yours, and you're not getting a penny out of me". Instead you can use a Living Together agreement to sort out the day to day workings of living together, and protect both you and your partner from whatever might happen to your relationship in the future.

Ideally you would make a Living Together agreement when you first move in together, but late really is better than never, so even if you've already been together for 15 years it's still a good idea.

Making a Living Together agreement prompts you to discuss how your living together will work in practice and what your expectations of each other are. In fact many of the couples we've spoken to say that they found that just making the agreement strengthened their relationship.

Making the agreement also helps you to organise the day to day finances of living together. It prompts you to think about easy and fair ways to divide the costs, and avoids those niggling little arguments about who is paying for the food and the gas bill that can sometimes mount up.

 

Can living together agreements be enforced in law?

Living Together agreements have a slightly odd status in law. The courts will not let you to sign away rights that the law gives you but a court will generally follow what you both agreed if:

  • it still produces a fair result for both of you.
  • You were both honest about your finances at the start.
  • A court is even more likely to uphold the agreement if both of you also had some legal advice about what you were doing.
  • A second option would be to have it written by a solicitor as a formal legal 'deed'. If you did this it would be legally binding in the same way as any legal contract between two parties.
  • A Living Together agreement is useful because, if you were to split up, it can help you to do it as amicably and fairly as possible.

 

 

Mediation

An effective way of resolving disputes without the need to go to court by using an independent third party mediator, who helps both sides to come to an agreement. The mediator is neutral and the aim of mediation is to help you and your former partner or spouse to reach a solution to your problem that you are both happy with.

 

Mediation is a voluntary process and can only take place if you both agree. All of the discussions which take place in mediation are confidential and if you are unable to reach an agreement, you can still go to court. The cost of mediation is shared equally between you and mediation is usually considerably quicker, less stressful and cheaper than going to court.

 020 7531 7420

BG Lawyers LLP are specialists in the area of Family Law,  please call us now and speak in confidence with one of our advisors.

 

If you wish to book an appointment to discuss in person, please call our office at Canary Wharf or use the contact form below.

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BG Lawyers LLP

3rd Floor, Suite 20, Innovation Centre

225 Marsh Wall London, E14 9FW

Telephone: 020 7531 7420   Facsimile: 020 7093 4903

DX 42652 Isle of Dogs   Email: info@bg-lawyers.co.uk