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It is no surprise that the pressures of multiple lockdowns took their toll on relationships over the last year and a half. But for many single people, it was a difficult time where their love life was essentially ‘put on hold’ as the Government restricted physical contact and closed bars, restaurants, gyms and workplaces making it virtually impossible to meet someone new.

   

Interestingly, activity on dating apps surged during the pandemic. Perhaps this was to pass the time whilst the nation was restricted to their homes, or maybe even a global pandemic can’t stop people from finding love! In March 2020, Tinder (the UKs most popular dating app) recorded its highest number of swipes on a single day at 3 billion, OKCupid saw a 700% increase in dates in 2020 and Match Group saw profits soar and as a result introduced new features to their dating empire such as video calls and virtual dates.

   

Now that the UK has lifted most restrictions, new relationships are forming much more frequently than over the last 18 months. And those who separated in the first lockdown have started to get back to dating or forming new relationships.

   

The beginning of a new relationship is an exciting time and when things start to progress and become more serious, it is important to take a moment to consider how you might need to protect yourself, your family and your assets before taking the leap.

   

Our Family Law Team do not only help people at the end of a relationship but are also on hand to give considered advice and protection at the start of relationships too. In this blog our expert Family Solicitors share some ideas on how to protect yourself.

   

Considerations Before Moving In Together

 

According to a survey by Direct Line, most Brits wait 6-7 months before giving a partner a key to their home or moving in together. Whether couples decide to rent, buy or move into one another’s property, there are considerations to make.

   

If one person owns their own property already, then it is important to know how you can protect your interests and equity, should the relationship not last. Setting out expectations from the start ensures that both parties know where they stand.

   

A cohabitation agreement is a useful document for providing clarity and protection. There are also different ways to own your property with another person, which are worth discussing with your conveyancer when you look to add someone onto your mortgage or buy a home together.

   

No Such Thing as a Common Law Marriage

 

If you and your partner aren’t married or in a civil partnership, but are living together, then you may be surprised to learn that you have very little legal protection in the event of the relationship coming to an end.

   

Many people are still under the impression that if they have lived together for a while, own a property jointly or have children together then they will automatically have some form of protection in the eyes of the law. This is very much a myth and couples that live together, for however long, are not entitled to any of the benefits or legal protection that comes with being married or in a civil partnership such as entitlement to financial support, pensions and claims over property.

   

The best way to protect your self may be to get married (if this is something that you plan to do) and / or seek legal advice on how to gain some peace of mind.

   

Finding love after lockdown

Children From Previous Relationships

Introducing a new partner to your children, however old they are, can be a difficult time as you want to ensure that both your children and your new partner feel comfortable, welcomed and secure. See our article ‘Introducing a New Partner to Your Children’ for useful tips.

   

If you have children from a previous marriage or relationship, then it is important to consider how you will protect their interests when moving in together. If ensuring that assets, such as your property for example, pass directly to your children then you must make a will or update your will to reflect these wishes. A will does not always provide cast-iron protection and it will be prudent to seek legal advice on such, particularly complicated issues.

   

Protection Before Marriage

 

Whether you are getting married for the first time or thinking about getting re-married, a pre-nuptial agreement is a sensible, practical legal document to consider. A pre-nup can give both partners within the marriage additional comfort that they have more control as to what would happen if the relationship came to an end.

   

A pre-nuptial agreement is a logical step to think about if you have particularly complex family circumstances or, as quite often is the case in recent years, one of you has received help from parents to get onto the property ladder.

   

It is possible to put something in place if you are already married. This is known as a post-nuptial agreement and essentially works the same way as a pre-nup.

   

Seeking Legal Advice

 

If you have found yourself leaving a relationship or starting a new relationship and would like some friendly advice on how best to protect yourself or take the next steps, please call our expert Family Law Team on 01256 844888. Alternatively, you can email enquiries@lambbrooks.com or submit an online enquiry through our chat assistant and someone will get back to you.

 

Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

Living Together: Why Do You Need a Cohabitation Agreement?

Save the Date – A Quick Guide to Pre Nups

Pets & Relationships: Who Gets the Dog?

     

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.