Let’s get se­ri­ous

READY TO SET­TLE DOWN WITH YOUR SWEET­HEART? KIM BEATSON, HEAD OF THE FAM­ILY TEAM AT AN­THONY GOLD, ON SOME THINGS YOU MIGHT NEED TO THINK ABOUT

Diva (UK) - - Family | Advertorial -

Re­la­tion­ships should be about ro­mance and se­cu­rity. It is never a good sign when the law and lawyers be­come in­volved in your re­la­tion­ship but the law is there to help and pro­tect those in re­la­tion­ships, es­pe­cially ones with chil­dren. Here are a few tips to help you plan when a re­la­tion­ship be­comes se­ri­ous and you are mov­ing in to­gether.

PROP­ERTY RIGHTS

If you are go­ing to buy a prop­erty to­gether then it is ex­tremely im­por­tant at the out­set that you write down your in­ten­tions for how that prop­erty should be owned, what will hap­pen should you sep­a­rate or one of you dies and how you are go­ing to con­trib­ute to­wards the pur­chase of the prop­erty, bills and the mort­gage.

WHERE ONLY ONE OF YOU OWNS THE PROP­ERTY

If only one of you owns the prop­erty, then un­less you en­ter into a civil part­ner­ship or mar­riage, the non- own­ing part­ner may not have any le­gal rights in re­spect of a share of that prop­erty. How­ever, as a re­la­tion­ship de­vel­ops, if sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions are made (usu­ally over and above a con­tri­bu­tion to bills), then the non- own­ing part­ner may well ac­quire a “ben­e­fi­cial in­ter­est” in the prop­erty. It is al­ways best to write down what your mu­tual in­ten­tions are so you each know where you stand and there is doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence of what your in­ten­tions were should things be­come rocky later on.

PRO­TEC­TION FROM DO­MES­TIC VI­O­LENCE AND ABUSE

If you are in a re­la­tion­ship then the law can pro­tect you if you suf­fer do­mes­tic vi­o­lence or abuse. Do­mes­tic abuse is now de­fined as any in­ci­dent or pat­tern of in­ci­dents of con­trol­ling, co­er­cive, threat­en­ing be­hav­iour, vi­o­lence or abuse be­tween those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, in­ti­mate part­ners or fam­ily mem­bers re­gard­less of gen­der or sex­u­al­ity. The abuse can en­com­pass, but is not lim­ited to, psy­cho­log­i­cal, phys­i­cal, sex­ual, fi­nan­cial and emo­tional abuse. Co­er­cive and fi­nan­cial abuse is now more read­ily recog­nised (not least be­cause of its re­cent por­trayal in Ra­dio 4’s The Arch- ers). Even if you are not the owner of a prop­erty in which you both live, you can still ob­tain pro­tec­tion from the court un­der the Fam­ily Law Act 1996.

SEP­A­RAT­ING AF­TER A CIVIL PART­NER­SHIP OR MAR­RIAGE

Cou­ples whose for­mally reg­is­tered civil part­ner­ship or same-sex mar­riage ends in dis­so­lu­tion or di­vorce can ap­ply to the Fam­ily Court to re­solve is­sues re­lat­ing to fi­nan­cial mat­ters and the law is the same as for het­ero­sex­ual cou­ples.

CHIL­DREN

Hav­ing or adopt­ing chil­dren in a gay re­la­tion­ship can be won­der­ful but the le­gal as­pects can also be very com­pli­cated and it is al­ways best to be sure of your po­si­tion in re­spect of your rights con­cern­ing the chil­dren at the out­set. We’ll be re­turn­ing to the sub­ject of chil­dren in a later ar­ti­cle for DIVA.

DIS­PUTES

It is al­ways bet­ter to re­solve dis­putes fol­low­ing a re­la­tion­ship break­down by out of court meth­ods rather than in court. Col­lab­o­ra­tive law and me­di­a­tion are usu­ally the best ways. It is worth get­ting ad­vice from a res­o­lu­tion ex­pert in fam­ily law as early as pos­si­ble. They will be able to tell you where you stand in your par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion.

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