Prevention is better than cure

It is far easier to agree when things are amicable than when they are acrimonious.  When legal costs are incurred depending upon the amount of work required to be done it is therefore far cheaper to resolve matters when everything is amicable.  That is the motivation behind agreeing and defining entitlements on the breakdown of a relationship at the outset of that relationship whilst parties are happy.

In days gone by pre-nuptial agreements were often considered to be an American concept favoured by Hollywood stars and the most affluent.  For a long time any similar pre-nuptial agreement would not have influenced the Court in this legal jurisdiction of England and Wales.  However the law evolves and increasingly these Courts have shown themselves willing to bind parties to pre-nuptial agreements.

Consequently in anticipation of the divorce, and whether you have significant assets or not, a properly negotiated and structured pre-nuptial agreement can save significant legal costs should the marriage breakdown.  Some consider pre-nuptial agreement to be an unromantic concept – but not much more than a Will is a morbid concept.  If you can overcome such emotions they make valid financial sense.

But early amicable agreements are not just limited to marriage.  More and more people live together rather than get married.  On cohabitation it is vital that the intention of the parties as to the distribution of interesst in property is documented at an early stage.  Without it there can be lengthy and expensive arguments over past intentions – examining contributions to the purchase and subsequent funding of a property, and any promises, understandings or belief given to one party as to the true ownership.  All this can be avoided with the drafting of a Declaration of Trust stipulating each parties interest in ownership of a property.  If parties are going to have even more extensive financial collaboration over and above ownership of a property then a Cohabitation agreement can regulate their financial future.

We aim to help parties in resolving their Family Law disputes from the breakdown of a relationship – whether it be marriage or cohabitation.  Having one of these agreements, negotiated at the outset when relations are fine, can prevent an acrimonious and expensive dispute.  Prevention is definitely better than cure.

If you would like more information about issues arising in this article please contact Peter Dadswell, Partner in our Family Team – once again for the second year in a row recognised by the leading directory Legal 500 as being the best Family team in Derby, on 01332 225354.