It has been said that if breakups never existed the music industry would go bankrupt! Unfortunately, they are a fact of life. Most people endure at least one in their lifetime; some lurch from one to the next, but no matter how often you experience a breakup it is still a very painful experience. Dealing with financial matters at such an emotional time can be very stressful, and it is better to reach an agreement with your partner while you are still a happy couple on how your property will be divided in the event you part. This should be done with the assistance of your solicitor. The key matters to consider are
- What property has each partner brought into the relationship?
- What is separate property that is to be preserved for each partner?
- What is relationship property that is to be divided?
- How is the relationship property to be divided?
In the absence of a property agreement, the Property (Relationships) Act sets out a default formula for how property is divided when a couple separates or one dies. In general, for couples who have been in a relationship for three years or more, the couple’s property will be divided equally.
It is important that you get legal advice before reaching any agreement with your partner so you know what your rights are. However, going into battle for every last cent of your entitlement may leave you worse off after paying your legal bills, so be flexible.
Debts need to be shared as well as assets and this can include credit cards and hire purchase. As soon as your relationship has ended, make sure you protect yourself by freezing or closing every joint account, credit or store card or other debt arrangement. Be safe, not sorry!