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Written Agreements

Our team of family lawyers at Bennett Oakley Solicitors understand the importance of written agreements between couples currently in or ending a relationship. They can often give clarity of the ownership and occupation of property and prevent any difficulties in the future as well as being something to give clarity should a relationship break down.

Pre-Nuptial Agreements

A Pre-Nuptial Agreement may not be the most romantic of things to consider when planning a marriage although one which is properly prepared can often take a lot of worry away from a couple so that they can plan the future in a positive way with peace of mind.

A 'Pre-Nup' as they are commonly known will set out what is intended to happen to your finances in the event that the marriage or Civil Partnership breaks down. There are certain conditions which have to be satisfied which include:

  • There must be full disclosure of the financial information of both you and your intended spouse;
  • The agreement must be fair to you both;
  • You must have both taken independent legal advice on your positions before the agreement is signed;
  • It must not be entered into under pressure;
  • It must be signed before the marriage or Civil Partnership.

If the marriage or partnership subsequently breaks down then a properly prepared Pre-Nuptial Agreement is an increasingly important factor for any Court to take into consideration. It is not actually binding on a Court although, where the above requirements are met, it is likely that it will be upheld. Our specialist team can provide you with advice and guidance on whether such a document is appropriate for you and, if so, can prepare it for you.

Post-Nuptial Agreements

These are very similar to the above but are entered into after the marriage or Civil Partnership. It is becoming increasingly common for couples to decide on this shortly after a marriage and we can advise on whether such a document would be suitable for you.

Cohabitation Agreements

Couples who simply live together are often known as ‘Cohabitees’. The notion of the common law man and wife is a myth as unmarried couples often do not have any financial obligations to each other. This can sometimes lead to very unfair situations and a written Separation Agreement may be the way to give you both some protection and peace of mind.

The process of considering what might go into a Cohabitation Agreement can often clarify any ownership issues of property and financial obligations in a way that can be beneficial to the relationship. It may avoid misunderstandings, and consequently avoid much distress and complication later.

A Cohabitation Agreement may be particularly relevant if you have previously been married, or involved in another relationship, and you wish to ensure that your assets are safeguarded for your children or other family members as well as making provision for your partner.

Separation Agreements

There are sometimes situations where a relationship breaks down but a couple do not wish to take the big step of obtaining a divorce or dissolving a Civil Partnership. It may be appropriate in these circumstances for you and your spouse or partner to enter into a Separation Agreement which may include provision for such things as:

  • An application for divorce or the dissolution of a Civil partnership being made once you have lived apart for more than 2 years and to conform that the other person will consent to this;
  • To confirm the arrangements for any children;
  • To show how financial and property issues are to be agreed and to confirm that it is intended for a Court to make Orders in such terms at a later date.

The terms agreed between couples cannot be binding on a Court although, if the Agreement satisfies certain conditions, it is likely that it will be approved. A well-prepared Separation Agreement can therefore ensure that, when an application is subsequently made for divorce or to dissolve a Civil Partnership, there other arrangements are resolved very smoothly which will benefit both adults and particularly any children.

Our Written Agreements Team

Stephanie Dew

Consultant Solicitor

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