Getting married

Separation or divorce is the last thing on your mind when choosing your wedding dress and your first dance tune.  Unfortunately, 40% of marriages end in divorce and a Pre-Marital Agreement can make things much clearer and less stressful in the event that this happens.  

Pre-marital agreements

Of course no one wants their marriage to break down, but a Pre-Marital Agreement acts as an insurance policy if the worst should happen.

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It may be that you and your spouse or civil partner would like to think ahead as to what would happen if you split up. You may be bringing more assets into the relationship than the other and wish to protect it, or make provision for children from previous relationships. We can draft a Pre-marital agreement for you to meet your particular needs.  It is important to regularly review such an agreement as your lives move on, for example when you have children. 

Following the case called “Radmacher”, decided by the Supreme Court in October 2010, “the court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is entered in to by each party with the full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement”.  Pre and Post-Marital Agreements now hold much more weight in the English courts than previously.

Declaration of Trust

If you are buying a property jointly, but the purchase price is unequal or you intend to pay a repayment mortgage in differing shares, you ought to enter into a Declaration of Trust to protect your greater interest in the property.

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We can draft a Declaration of Trust that will protect your greater share in the property in the event of a dispute in the future.  The absence of such a document when purchasing a property can mean that property law operates in a way that you did not envisage.  Our residential property team can help you get this right at the outset to prevent stress and potentially costly litigation in the future.  If anything changes over time, (for example if you contribute an additional lump sum to the property or spend a considerable amount in improving it), then the family team can draft a Declaration of Trust to reflect the new situation. 

In addition in some circumstances one party may wish to move out of the property and the other take over payment of the mortgage when there is a joint mortgage in place.  If the mortgage company will not let you do this, a Declaration of Trust can set out your wishes in the short term and prevent unfair claims on the property by the person that has moved out in the future.

Wills

It is essential that you have a Will in place because if you live with someone, regardless of whether you are married to each other or not, they will not automatically inherit your assets in the event of your death.  If you do have a Will in place, when you get married it will automatically be revoked, unless it has been written in contemplation of marriage.

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If you die without leaving a valid Will in place, the Intestacy Rules apply which means that the people you wish to benefit from your assets do not do so because they are not entitled to them under the law.  The Intestacy Rules may also result in complex trusts being set up for your family which can be costly to administer and contrary to your wishes.

The absence of a Will does not mean that your spouse or civil partner will inherit everything – they may not.  To be certain and to ensure that your wishes are properly carried out, you must make a Will – our wills, probate & trusts team will be able to provide you with further advice on this.

FREE half hour meeting

We understand that family matters are sensitive and that's why we offer all clients a FREE half hour meeting at either our Salisbury, Southampton, Poole or Winchester offices so you can meet us before you have to make any commitment.

Need to speak to someone out of office hours?

Call us on 01722 426989.

We're members of Resolution

Which is a family law body which believes in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters.

Resolution - first for family law

Collaborative law

We have collaboratively trained lawyers. They will try to help you resolve your issues in a non-confrontational manner. Often going to court can be avoided with this approach.

Recommended in Chambers

Recommended in Chambers

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Recommended in Legal 500

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Meet the team

Partners

Andrew Mercer
Partner & Head of Family Team
Family
Salisbury
01722 426954
07880 703 500
Family
Grant Cameron
Partner
Family
Southampton
023 8082 0488
07467 943444
Family
Juliet Mayhew
Partner
Family
Salisbury
01962 670677
07557 536244
Family
Emma Wilders-Pratt
Partner
Family
Salisbury
01962 670677
07876 334584
Family

Associates

Kate Stovold
Associate
Family
Southampton
023 8082 0511
Family

Paralegals

Dawn Gore
Paralegal & Certified Family Law Assistant
Family
Salisbury
01722 426945
07881 343 960
Family

Legal Assistants

Caroline Nobbs
Legal Assistant
Family
Poole
01202 339010
Family

Legal Secretaries

Charlotte Gee
Legal Secretary
Family
Salisbury
01722 426903
Family
Emma Humby
Legal Secretary
Family
Southampton
023 8082 0453
Family
Laura Sargent
Legal Secretary
Family
Southampton
Family
Andrea Smith
Legal Secretary
Family
Salisbury
01722 426958
Family
Sara Willis
Legal Secretary
Family
Salisbury
01722 426963
Family