Civil Partnership Agreements are similar to that of a pre-nuptial agreement between married couples and is used by same-sex couples to set out the terms of things such as assets and finances and how they are to be resolved should the Civil Partnership end in the future.
Who can enter into a Civil Partnership Agreement?
Two adults over the age of 16, who are not closely related and are of the same sex and have been resident in England and Wales for at least seven days before notice is given. The adults must not already be married or be in a civil partnership.
How is a Civil Partnership Agreement achieved?
Notice is given to a registry office and then the couple begin the register fifteen days later in presence of a registrar and two witnesses.
Civil Partnership Agreements and Co-habitation
It is likely that some civil partners will have co-habited for a long time prior to formalising their civil partnership agreement. They may have acquired substantial assets. It is important to be aware that at dissolution the court may consider seamless cohabitation as adding to the longevity of the civil partnership agreement and make its judgment accordingly.
There has been an important difference in the treatment of short and medium to long term marriages in the division of capital by the Courts. In short marriages capital acquired prior to the marriage can be regarded as a non matrimonial asset and may be disregarded. This is not the case in long term marriages- the starting point for assessment is a 50/50 division of capital and the longer the marriage the less relevance a contribution argument will have.
A long period of co-habitation could change the analysis of a relationship from a short marriage to a long term relationship including seamless cohabitation. This has important financial implications for Civil Partnership Agreements.
In recent years the Courts have given significant weight to pre marital cohabitation and there is every reason to assume they will do likewise with civil partnerships. See cohabitation agreement.
Pre- Registration Agreements
In the absence of any other authority it is likely that the Court will take a similar approach to pre- registration agreements on dissolution of Civil Partnership Agreements as they do in pre nuptial agreements upon divorce.
A Pre-Registration Agreement is useful evidence of the parties’ intentions and it is important to consider having one if there are substantial assets. The Courts are taking Pre Nuptial Agreements into account on divorce as one of the factors of the case particularly where both parties had independent legal advice and there are no children. The longer a relationship subsists the less weight is likely to be given to a Pre Registration Agreement and it may be useful to consider updating it especially upon a change in circumstances with a Post Registration Agreement
We are able to offer specialist advice on forming a Civil Partnership Agreement and creating a Pre-Registration Agreement also on dissolution of a Civil Partnership Agreement and resolving financial issues upon breakup. For more information please contact us on 02380 236025 and a member of our team will be happy to assist you.