Pre-Civil Partnership Agreements
What is a Pre-Civil Partnership Agreement?
A Pre-Civil Partnership Agreement is a formal contract entered into prior to entering into a Civil Partnership, which sets out what should happen if you were to dissolve the partnership or separate in the future. A Pre-Civil Partnership Agreement is a version of a Pre-nuptial agreement and gives you an opportunity to protect your pre-acquired assets, in the event of the Partnership breaking down. Particularly as recent case law (Gallagher –v– Lawrence) has shown that Civil Partnerships will be treated in a similar way to marriages when thinking about the distribution of pre-acquired assets. The agreement will also consider how your future finances will be distributed, plus any contact arrangements for children etc.
As Civil partnerships are a relatively new thing to English and Welsh Law (particularly for heterosexual partnerships which came in to force on 1st January 2020), many in the legal profession have been waiting for a case to set the scene for future dissolutions. Gallagher v Lawrence was one of these cases. In this case the Court of Appeal decided that one of the parties was entitled to a share of the other parties assets that had been acquired by them prior to the relationship. This effectively gives a couple entering into a Civil partnership the same rights to each other’s assets as a married couple.
This makes it even more important to draw up a pre-civil agreement so you can set out what each person’s financial circumstances are before the registration of the Civil Partnership, then set out what each person would like to happen to those assets in the event the Partnership is dissolved.