Here are some ways you can protect your assets before entering into a marriage, civil partnership or moving in together.
Prenuptial and Pre-Civil Partnership Agreements ( referred to as “pre-nups” and “pre-cips”) are enforceable in Scotland. Generally speaking they are used to provide added protection to you on getting married if you have pre-established assets. Prenups can also deal with how property is divided on separation. Many clients who marry without prenups can get into a legal wrangle on separation. The most common scenario is that they buy property during the course of the marriage from assets they owned before. This is of course a perfectly natural thing to do but it means that the new property becomes matrimonial which may come as a shock on separation. If you have inherited wealth or if you are a bit older and have amassed some property, it is wise to consider a prenup. They are a lot more common than you think and they can save you a lot of money in legal fees if you ever do end up separating.
Post Nuptial and Post Civil Partnership Agreements
Occasionally a couple who are married or in a civil partnership decide to make specific financial arrangements to be applied in the event that they separate. You may wish to revise the terms of an existing pre-nup/pre-cip or it may be that an employer is making it a pre-condition of promotion to you becoming an owner in a business that you exclude your spouse/civil partner from making a claim on your share. Alternatively, parents passing assets to an adult child who is already married/in a civil partnership may wish to ensure that such assets are protected in the event of the separation divorce or dissolution. In such situations, a Post Nuptial /Post Cip Agreement can be entered into.
Where a cohabiting couple separate, each cohabitant can make a claim for financial provision against the other cohabitant for a period of up to one year following separation. It is sensible to regulate in advance of setting up home together the arrangements which will apply in the event of their separation. For example, it may be decided to preclude all claims by each party against the other in the event of separation, or it may be necessary to make arrangements with regard to how the proceeds of sale of the family home should be divided, particularly where one party has contributed a greater share of the equity than the other. Again, parents who are giving adult children a deposit for their first home may wish to ensure a cohabitation agreement is entered into so that their investment stays in the family in the event of a separation.