Prenuptial and Relationship Agreements
It is possible, and often advisable, to ask us to draw up documents at various stages of your relationship to cover what would happen should you subsequently separate.
These are voluntary agreements which involve pro-active but delicate negotiation, in which we are very experienced. Such negotiation is well-suited to the Collaborative Law structure which all four of our Family Law Solicitors are qualified to deal with.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
These are documents which set out each person’s financial position before marriage, and clarify your wishes and intentions should you subsequently separate in relation to those finances and any assets accumulated after marriage. Such discussions before marriage are becoming increasingly normal, and can be particularly relevant where one person or their family is introducing a significant asset into the marriage. Discussing these issues before marriage may not be romantic, but can help to clear the air and reduce uncertainties later.
If the court later becomes involved in looking at the finances of a marriage, a prenuptial agreement is not 100% binding, but is being given increasing weight and can be a very significant part of any subsequent settlement, particularly where the separation takes place before any children are born, or where the marriage is short.
If it is not possible to have a prenuptial agreement drawn up before marriage, it is possible to draw one up after marriage, which can also help to clarify your intentions should there be any subsequent separation.
Relationship Agreement / Living Together Agreement
Where you do not intent to marry but intend to live with someone, we can draw up a Relationship Agreement, also known as a Living Together Agreement; setting out your intentions should you subsequently separate. This document can be drawn up before you start living together or after you have started living together. This can be particularly important where there is no marriage, as your rights are significantly different compared to persons who are married to each other.
Separation Agreement / Deed of Separation - Unmarried Couples
At the end of an unmarried relationship, we can draw up a Separation Agreement, also known as a Deed of Separation, to set out the financial arrangements after separation; which is then evidence of the resolution of those issues. This can be very helpful to create clarity and reduce any worry of any future claims, as the court does not usually get involved in formalising such arrangements unless there is a dispute about claims on assets; such as property in joint or single names.
Separation Agreement - Married Couples
The only fully binding document covering the finances at the end of a marriage is a Court Order, but the court can only make an Order (which can be an agreed Order or an Order following a disputed case) if a divorce has started. If you do not wish to start divorce proceedings straight away; for example, if you wish to separate first, then we can assist you in drawing up a formal agreement in relation to the finances of the marriage. This can then be converted into a Court Order once the divorce is in place.
For further information on Prenuptial Agreements or Relationship Agreements, and to find out how we can help you, please contact our Family Law Team on 01279 755777 or get in touch with Lynn Cowley, Partner in our Family Team.