In short, if a cohabiting couple with a Declaration of Trust gets married, the Declaration of Trust will be affected by the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. This act grants spouses and civil partners with a variety of different claims they can make upon divorce/dissolution of civil partnership.
This means that if the couple were to divorce and the finance matters were to reach the court, the court would have a right when dealing with the property to override and depart from what was agreed in the Declaration of Trust if they did not deem it to be fair. The Declaration of Trust instead would be considered by the court as an indicator of the couples' intentions alongside other important factors.
As such, for greater certainty and to make arrangements contrary to the default terms set out in the Matrimonial Causes Act, a married couple/ civil partners should consider replacing their Declaration of Trust with a Pre-Nuptial or Post-Nuptial Agreement.
If you would like to discuss anything concerning the above information, contact us to book your initial consultation on 01245 493939 or email Family@gepp.co.uk
This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.