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If you are intending to marry, live with your partner, or are separated then protecting your interests is crucial. Our family solicitors can advise you and draft the appropriate legal agreement to suit your needs.

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Agreements that your solicitor can advise on and prepare include:

  • Cohabitation Agreement

    The law treats unmarried couples very differently to those who are married. If you are living with someone, or intend to do so, then you and your partner can benefit from having a legal agreement drawn up which clearly sets out the arrangements in relation to finances and property. Such an agreement could also address matters concerning children.

  • Separation Agreement

    For married couples who are separating but do not wish to divorce, or for unmarried couples, a Separation Agreement is an appropriate means of formalising agreements between you and your spouse/partner. This can deal with financial matters, division of property and arrangements for children. The Separation Agreement provides certainty for both parties and avoids the upset and expense that a dispute can cause.

  • Pre/Post Nuptial Agreement

    A pre-nuptial agreement will assist, so far as it is possible, in providing certainty for couples who plan to marry and wish to have a clear agreement in the unfortunate event that the marriage should break down.

    The courts in this country are now placing greater weight on pre-nuptial agreements that are properly prepared and considered. It is important, when considering a pre-nuptial agreement, for both parties to obtain independent legal advice and this must be done, where possible, several months in advance of the marriage.

    Post-nuptial agreements are becoming increasingly common in this country. As the title suggests such an agreement is very similar to a pre-nuptial agreement but is entered into by the parties after the marriage ceremony. Post-nuptial agreements are also increasingly being taken into account by the courts on divorce, providing the parties have obtained appropriate legal advice and there has been full financial disclosure.

  • Parental Responsibility Agreement

    A mother will acquire parental responsibility upon her child’s birth. Parents are often unaware that an unmarried father will not acquire parental responsibility if he is not named on the birth certificate.

    If a father has not acquired parental responsibility the easiest way for him to do so is to enter into a written agreement, known as a Parental Responsibility Agreement, with the mother. To be effective a Parental Responsibility Agreement needs to be properly prepared, executed and then registered at the Principle Registry of the Family Division in London.

  • Consent Orders

    When parties divorce it is important to ensure that financial matters between them are properly addressed. Hopefully it will be possible for the parties to reach an agreement with regard to financial matters on divorce. Agreement is commonly reached with each party obtaining independent advice from solicitors following a full and frank exchange of financial disclosure. Some parties are also able to reach agreement with the assistance of a mediator.

    It is crucial to ensure that any agreement reached between the parties in relation to the financial matters on divorce it is legally binding, and this is done by incorporating the agreement into a Court Order, referred to as a Consent Order. A Consent Order is prepared by a solicitor and once the contents are agreed with the other party and their legal representative the Order is signed by both parties and submitted to the court, usually before the conclusion of divorce proceedings. The Consent Order is considered by a Judge and providing the terms are considered to be appropriate and fair the Order is approved and sealed by the court.

  • Change of Name Deed

    It is an easy process to legally change your name with a Change of Name Deed. A change of name could be the change of first, middle, surname or all of them.

    You can simply execute your own change of name deed, which will then be effective for changing your name on important documents such as bank accounts and passports.

    A change of name deed for a child must be executed by all persons with parental responsibility for the child. In most cases the consent of both the mother and the father is required.

Our family solicitors can help with

Advice on agreements
Drafting agreements
Enforcing agreements

How much will it cost?

At JWP solicitors we always have a transparent approach to our fees. Our solicitors will at the outset of your case set out clearly the likely costs. In most cases we can deal with your divorce or civil partnership dissolution for a fixed price.  If your divorce is potentially complex or if you prefer we can deal with you case using our hourly charging rate.  We will also assess you for eligibility for legal aid, which is still available for family cases in certain circumstances.

You can contact us at any time free of charge during the course of, or at the conclusion of your case, with any queries in relation to costs or any other area of client care.

We also appreciate that a divorce or separation can result in a difficult time financially.  Your solicitor will discuss with you at the outset an appropriate plan for payment of your legal costs.

We now offer comprehensive fixed price packages for most family matters, which include representation at court.  To request a comprehensive fixed price brochure please contact us on 01924 387171

Frequently asked questions

When do I need an agreement?

There are numerous circumstances in which a properly considered and prepared agreement will be of considerable assistance. The following are just some examples where an agreement may assist you.

  • If you intend to live with someone then an agreement can assist in protecting pre-owned assets and setting out each party’s respective rights in relation to property and financial issues
  • If you intend to marry then a pre and/or post-nuptial agreement can assist in setting out how you and your spouse/future spouse would wish to deal with the assets of the marriage, financial matters and arrangements for any children in the unfortunate event that the marriage breaks down. The courts are increasingly taking account of properly considered and prepared agreements when dealing with financial issues on divorce
  • If you are in a relationship and that relationship has broken down then an agreement can set out how any assets are to be divided and how any other financial issues or even arrangements for children are to be resolved
  • It is often particularly important to consider the implications of your partner moving in with you in circumstances where they are moving into a property which you are the sole owner of. An agreement can define what interest, if any, your partner would acquire in the property and if, for example they were going to make financial contributions towards the property
  • If you are buying a property with your partner then it is important to consider how that property will be owned jointly. Particularly careful consideration will need to be given to the ownership of the property if you and your partner are making unequal contributions towards the purchase price. An agreement can define yours and your partner’s respective interests in the property, and what your shares will be in the event that the relationship breaks down.

Will the agreement definitely be effective?

The law in this country is always evolving. Following developments in the law in recent years, agreements now carry more weight with the court than at any time previously. Pre and post-nuptial agreements have increasingly been taken account of by the courts in just the last few years. If an agreement is in place then the courts will now consider why that agreement should not be upheld.

It is, however, important to be aware that ultimately an agreement cannot prevent a party from asking the court to consider a matter they do not wish to be held to the terms of a written agreement. Ultimately, it is at the court’s discretion as to whether an agreement should be upheld.

When might the Court not uphold an agreement?

The court may not hold the parties to the terms of an agreement where the terms of that agreement are deemed to be unfair, if the terms of the agreement are considered out of date or if provisions in the agreement do not make adequate provision for a child of the relationship.

An agreement may also not be upheld if it can be established that a party to the agreement was not in a position to make a fully informed decision when entering into it. An example of this would be a financial agreement where there had not been full disclosure of each party’s financial circumstances prior to entering into it.

In addition if the proper legal formalities have not been properly dealt with then again the agreement may not be upheld.

There are therefore clearly a number of reasons as to why it is important to obtain specialist legal advice when consider entering into an agreement.

What if the other person does not want to enter into the agreement?

The other person must be prepared to enter into the agreement. If they are reluctant to enter into an agreement, or not willing to do so then it is probably better to reassess your position and consider how you wish to proceed.

How long will the agreement take?

We can draw up an agreement very quickly, where this is required. It is very important however not to rush into an agreement, the priority should be to ensure that the terms of the agreement are appropriate and effective.

In the case of a pre-nuptial agreement we would generally advise that the agreement should be executed 3 months prior to the date of the marriage. It should certainly not be executed any later than 21 days prior to the marriage.

Why do I need a Parental Responsibility Agreement?

Parental responsibility entitles you to have an equal say with regard to all important decisions concerning your child, such as issues concerning their education, religious upbringing, authorisation of medical treatment and change of a child’s name.

Therefore if you do not have parental responsibility, technically the child’s mother and all other persons with parental responsibility do not need to consult you with regard to important decisions concerning your child.

A Parental Responsibility Agreement will ensure that you have an equal say concerning all important decisions concerning your child. If you do not have parental responsibility and the child’s mother is unwilling to enter into a Parental Responsibility Agreement with you, you can make an application to the court for a Parental Responsibility Order. Generally, providing you can show the Court commitment to your child then an application for a Parental Responsibility Order will be successful.


Gareth Long

Gareth Long

JWP Solicitors Director

Direct Dial 01924 387 171

Delia Crofts-Turnbull

Delia Crofts-Turnbull

JWP Solicitor

Direct Dial 01977 790 029