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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35043
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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Dear Jo, Hope you had a good Christmas.Today, I have 2

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Dear Jo,
Hope you had a good Christmas.Today, I have 2 major topics to ask you for advice. I start with the first topic first. If we dont finish it today, then I will continue later or tomorrow as I need to leave my place for some shopping soon.Topic 1: how to protect my assets in a relationship/partnership/later on marriage.
Just some background info for you:
I am single and have been living with my boyfriend in my flat in the past 4 years. He has been in a separation process with his ex wife in the past 5 year. They have 1 son. By witnessing what has been going on, I want to avoid a situation for my own just in case.
First of all: I am 50, I was a banker and in the past 7 years (after the collapse of the investment banks) I run my own firm. It is still a start up firm, but we will be profitable soon and once we get there, the business can grow exponential. I also own 6 properties (5 of them are currently let to professionals), which generates sizable income which helps me to run my firm in the past years. I am a German national (born Vietnamese), grew up in Germany. That means I have relatives and brothers in Vietnam who are less fortunate than many in Western Europe. My heart are always with them. If there is any money which I would like to give away, they are the ones who should receive them.
Currently we try to use egg donation to create a family. I will also spend approx £700k - £1m to renovate one of the 6 properties (it's a 8 bedroom house) to move in. The construction will start in Spring next year. Once finished, my boyfriend and I will move into this newly renovated house.About my boyfriend: he is French, 37, a fund manager. He has a good compensation package, but the majority of his income is paid to his ex wife and since he leaves with me, he saves a lot of money for his son's education and in general for his son. It is all about his son.
When he moves in with me in my current flat, I asked him to sign a tenancy agreement with me. He pays £1000, and council tax bill, and maybe telephone /internet line. I use this £1000 to pay for the food and other household costs and also a bit of contribution to the mortgage which I have to pay (FYI, the mortgage is £1,600 per month. Thereof approx £850 is the interest since I fixed a very high rate for a long time).
My boyfriend is very experienced with divorce law etc as he has been dealing with it in the past year, talked to a lot of lawyer as his exwife earns nothing and claims a lot on him.
I advised him to buy a property for letting and for his future pension, but he refused to buy. Any money he has, he transferred to an account in Luxembourg and to the fund which he is managing for clients which is also domiciled in Luxembourg. I understand why he does it as he has to show interest alignment with his investors.I do not have any doubt about him nor our relationship, but I would like to avoid any additional hassle/trouble if things wont go well later on. Most importantly, I do not come from a privileged world, I grew up most of my life without my parents. My family had high status in Hanoi/Vietnam back then,but no money due to the communism. In addition, all the assets and my firm which I have today, is a real hard work during the years which I was working extremely hard for a top US bank, saved and took the risk to buy the properties and managed them on my own, spent a lot of cash to build my firm etc.. So I would feel very unjust that if for some reasons, those assets have to be half for him, which literally go to his son and consequently to his ex-wife. I have more relatives/brothers in Vietnam who need these asset more than them.So far, I made it clear to him that I dont want to get married, unless we have children together.Since we are about to start a family and will move into a larger more valuable property next year (= after renovation it will be worth around £3m-£-3.5m based on today's valuation), I would like to ask you for advice (1) what needs to be done; (2) who I need to contact e.g. pre-nuptal or some kind of agreement if needed be, before having babies /moving in the new house; (3) what are my potential risk based on today's law.I look forward to hearing from you and wish you a good New Year
Thank you for your help.
Best regards,
HiThank you for your questionMy name is ***** ***** do my best to help you but I need some further information firstIs he likely to be willing to sign and form or pre-nup agreement?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I think that he will.
But maybe you can give me your advice for both scenarios: will sign and won't signThank you for your help.
Best regards,
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Clare,
Thank you very much for answering my questions.I wish you a good New Year.
Best regards,
My apologies for the delay.Whilst you are not married his claim on you is limited.Provided he makes no financial contribution to your property or business then he is not entitled to a share of themIf there are children involved and you separate then there is a risk that you will be required to provide him with accommodation until the youngest child is 18 so that the child(ren) can spend time with him in suitable housing.However if you get married then he will have a claim on your assets under UK lawProvided that you both have separate legal advice; that there is full financial disclosure and it is signed at least a month before the wedding then the English courts are likely to take a Prenuptial agreement into account in the event of a divorce provided it make reasonable provision for housing needs - and the needs of any children involved.If you do not do so then there is a risk that he will have a claim on your assets - although it will not be a 50/50 claim unless you separate after having lived together for a considerable period of time.I hope that this is of assistance - please ask if you need further details
Clare and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Clare,
Thank you very much for your answer to my questions. I am sorry for my late response.I have some questions to each of the scenarios:
1) co-inhabiting and we have children
a) is it considered as a marriage due to having children together and due to the length of living together in one household?
b) if the answer is no, then I assume that his claim on housing until the child is 18 will arise. What exactly "providing accommodation to him " means in this scenario? He has money and large compensation package which he could buy a place but does not want to do so instead of putting all this money under his son's name (note: bearing in mind this money may end up in his ex wife pocket if the son wants to give it to her while living with me minimises his living costs to the minimum. Beside this, I don't think its a good idea to make the child feel that he is so well provided for and therefore, there will be no motivation to do well in life unless it is a plan to protect the assets from me to make claims later on if things fell apart). With or without a separation a person always needs an accommodation to leave. What does the court usually expect from someone like me in my situation? ie do I have to pay him to rent a place which is comparable to our new place /worth £3-£4m in today's money ?
c) if the answer is yes, I assume the claim will be more substantial. Therefore, it may be wise to sign a pre nup before moving into our new house and having babies. What do you think?
2) we'll get married at some point and we have a prenup before moving into the new house and a prenup one month before the marriage with full disclosure of assets (at least from my end):
a) again, as above, what kind of accommodation will I be expected to provide? Will the court look into his income and savings over the years and question where is the money gone? Or make calculation and see that in fact he could afford an accommodation himself without help? Note: I don't mind giving, but only giving to someone if it is the only resource which that someone has. Notwithstanding that my business might never pick up or I failed a lot of business ventures leaving me penniless.
b) currently we leave in a flat so I asked him to pay me only £1000 a month for everything (accommodation, regular food, and gifts for dinner parties /I buy gifts when we go to the places for dinner parties, food if we have dinner parties, but he pays most of the time when we go out. We don't go out very often as we have invitations from clients most of the time):
- when we move into a new place, I could ask him to pay more but I wonder if it would have any impact on the court decision in a bad scenario (= separation)?
- I think I should as him to pay more , not with the intention to enrich myself, but for the fairness (= I help him to save money not for the purpose of putting everything into his son's account and trust while if he were to fell ill tomorrow , I will be the one who nurses him). FYI: I already told him openly about what I have written here about him putting money on his son's name/trust. But he said that I should not interfere with things about his son
=> how much can I ask him pay? Frankly a student in London would have to spend at least £1000 for a low end small room in a student houseshare and very simple food, no good wine etc. A professional has to spend around £2,500 if living alone in a one bed flat Zone 2/ pay for food, wines, dinner parties etc. Can I use this as a benchmark and his contribution to the living cost won't be seen by the court that he pays part of the mortgage and therefore would have claims on the new house?
3) since his parents live in France and we would like to have them come over and stay with us for a long period of time (as he also has a brother lives nearby, coincidently as we live near the French Lycée), I mentioned to them and plan for our new house to have one level for them. So they can come anytime to stay): would I be ordered by the court to provide accommodation for his parents too in case of separation?
4) his son: in any circumstances I do not want his son to have a permanent room in our house for many reasons:
(a) to avoid a potential claim on accommodation for the son in case of separation. Do you think that it could be a potential claim?
(b) he is raised by a very different mother, I don't know who would be his friends in the future. I feel uneasy to let someone has access t
o our home unsupervised ( I read a lot of things in the newspaper that even good kids bring strangers to party in their homes and they trashed their homes). My boyfriend wanted to make it official as his son's room. I said that don't like such official things as he can use the room occasionally when he would like to stay, but it is not his home/he lives with his mother and not with us and this has to be clear to everyone.
5) what can I do if he refused to sign a prenup? (In my view it's likely that he will sign)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry for the long email, but it's essential to be clear about different scenarios.
Thank you very much for your great help.
Best regards,
1a. No it is not considered a marriage
b and c. If his own resources are not sufficient to allow him to purchase a property which is not the same as yours but is nonetheless not so far removed from it that the child moving between the two properties could be out of place in either then you may need to give your ex a "loan" until the child is 18 to purchase a suitable property
A Cohabitation agreement could address this.
2.a The longer the relationship the more his claim will be - nut he will have to account for his own assets as well
b. This is a personal matter and one that has no legal basis - provided he does not pay for any alterations or improvements to the house nor directly t the mortgage he will have no claim
3. No
4. You will never be required to provide accommodation for his son but frankly what you are suggesting sounds at best unkind - any parent wishes a child to know that when they are with them they are "home" however short the time period.
5. That is again a personal decision only you can make
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Dear Clare,
Thank you very much for your advice.
I agree with you about my view on an official room for his son appears to be unkind or mean if people dont know what is going on. I simply wants to avoid additional problems/headaches for myself in a distressed situation as being kind and being taken advantage of due to the lack of knowledge about law, then it would be disappointing. There are many ways to address this matter in a pleasant way and knowing that his son cannot claim on me in any circumstances, then it works fine for me. It worries me increasingly since I have seen him being claimed by his soon to be ex wife in the past 5 years and at the settlement despite the fact that they have a prenup, plus all excess money is put under his son's name, I should be aware of what I should expect in the worst case scenario.I would like to ask you if there is some kind of prenup template online which I can download and modify it to our personal arrangements as a suggestion to him
Also, are there specific steps to be done for a pre-nup before signing?: e.g. I let a lawyer review it, then let him review , then ask him to ask his lawyer review it etc.. then sign or what are the right steps to be done?Thank you very much for your help.
Best regards,
HiYou have no need to be concerned that having a room in your home for when his son says will cause any future problems for youWith regard to a prenup please do NOT use a templatePlease get face to face advice from a firm with experience in these matters
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much Clare.
Do you have any firms in mind who can help me to handle this matter?Best regards,
There are a number two of them!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. I will email them with the situation and ask for an appointment.
Thank you for your help on this matter.
Best regards,
You are most welcome - I hope all goes well
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Clare