Relationship Property Agreement

It is increasingly common for parties to a relationship (be it a marriage, civil union or de facto relationship) to enter into an agreement determining the manner in which their property is to be divided in the event of their separation or death.

Such agreements (often called “pre-nuptial” or “property sharing agreements”) can usually be prepared promptly and for a modest expense, and will often have the effect of enshrining the parties’ wishes concerning their property should the relationship come to an end. It is our strong recommendation to clients who are the owners of any property at the time of commencing a relationship to consider entering into such an agreement.

An agreement pursuant to Section 21 of the Property (Relationships) Act needs to comply with certain criteria in order to be binding, enforceable and able to be relied upon. One essential element is that each party needs to have independent legal advice. We specialise in providing assistance and advice for people entering into agreements of this nature.

Many relationships, however, end without the parties being able to agree on the manner in which their property should be divided. The Property (Relationships) Act determines the manner in which property should be divided in the absence of a property sharing agreement. Whilst in many cases the parties will share their property equally there are numerous exceptions, including circumstances where “exceptional circumstances” exist, where there is economic disparity or where spousal maintenance is required. The legislation now applies not only to married partners, but also parties to civil unions and people in de facto relationships. The laws concerning relationship property are complex and resolution of relationship property matters will invariably require legal assistance. Halliwells offer years of experience in the field of relationship property.