Once a couple have chosen to marry or enter into a civil partnership, they are free to enter into a Post-nuptial Agreements and Separation Agreements to provide certainty and regulate any financial arrangements or agreements they make between themselves, both during the marriage and, should the unforeseen happen, after separation. Any Separation Agreement is perfectly valid and can also be enforced against each party to that agreement, subject to the Court’s legal authority to vary those agreements.
The Court has power to vary such agreements as a result of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and includes the following:
- Any written agreement containing financial arrangements.
- Any written agreement to separate which does not contain any financial arrangements (where no other document exists which does contain such arrangements).
It must be remembered that any attempt in any Post-nuptial Agreements and Separation Agreements to restrict the right to apply to the Court to look into the issue of financial provision, will not be enforceable. This does not prevent any other aspect of the agreement being perfectly valid. It also does not mean any financial agreement will not be approved by the Court.
It is for those reasons that an agreement made (post marriage or civil partnership) can be used to regulate the financial position between the parties to that Post-nuptial Agreements and Separation Agreements and provide certainty.
Post-nuptial Agreements and Separation Agreements are often used as an alternative to divorce/dissolution of a civil partnership to provide maintenance, clarify care of the children and deal with the division of property without the legal expense involved in taking the matter to Court. These agreements can be referred to as Separation Agreements or Maintenance Agreements.
Post-nuptial Agreements and Separation Agreements are like any other contract and must be formed in accordance with the principles of contract law. This includes the intention to create legal relations and there must be an absence of fraud, mistake, duress or undue influence. It is therefore vital that independent legal advice is obtained.
Typically, such agreements cover any consequential arrangements concerning separation, such as:
- Any maintenance payments.
- What is to happen to any property such as the former matrimonial home or valuable assets and how they are to be divided.
- Any agreements made concerning children such as where they will live and who will have contact with the children and when.
There are a number of practical issues which each couple will decide upon themselves as the most important to them.
The motivation behind entering into a Separation Agreement is usually to avoid Court proceedings and the added legal expense involved. This can have the added advantage of both speed and flexibility as the parties can enter into the agreement as soon as they are ready and can be renegotiated at any time.
We offer a fixed fee for the preparation of straight-forward Separation Agreements (Post-nuptial Agreements) where they are largely agreed and there is a need for formalisation. These fees are contained in the fixed fee section of our website and subject to the terms and conditions stated therein. The cost of a straightforward agreement is £850.00 plus VAT but may increase where more complex agreements are required or where further negotiation and correspondence is required in order to establish the terms of the agreement.