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While nobody embarks on a marriage or civil partnership anticipating or expecting that the relationship will break down, it is sensible to think about how your financial position would be affected if it did.

When considering financial matters at the time of a divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership, the court’s starting point for the division of assets is typically an equal division. The court may depart from equal division in any particular case where fairness requires a different outcome; for example because of a difference in income or earning capacities, or because of the financial needs of the parties and any children.

The rules surrounding financial settlements have a particular significance for increasing numbers of people. Many people are marrying or entering into a civil partnership later in life – the average age for a first marriage in England and Wales is now 36 for men and 33 for women. Such couples are more likely to have accumulated assets prior to the marriage or civil partnership, while those marrying for a second time may want to protect any money or property received from the first marriage.

If there are children from a previous marriage or relationship, a parent may well want to ensure that any money or property that they have at the time of the marriage is preserved for their children, rather than their new spouse or civil partner.

Pre-marital and post-marital agreements are an increasingly popular option for protecting assets and income within a marriage or civil partnership and this guide covers some of the key points
relating to these agreements.

However, please note that this is for general guidance only and you should always seek professional advice tailored to your own circumstances before entering into any arrangements.

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