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Agreements

Agreements

Agreements

Agreements

Our expert family team deals with the full range of agreements, including pre and post-nuptial agreements, pre and post-civil partnership agreements, living together, separation and settlement agreements.

Types of agreements we provide

Prenuptial agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement made between two individuals before they marry.

Prenuptial agreements usually set out how couples wish to divide their assets, liabilities and income if their relationship should break down and end in divorce.

Postnuptial agreements

A postnuptial agreement is a legal agreement made between spouses after they marry.

A postnuptial agreement can be used to vary or ratify the terms of a prenuptial agreement or be a freestanding agreement. Couples may also enter into a postnuptial agreement if they marry with a foreign marriage contract and later relocate to England and Wales.

Prenuptial and postnuptial (collectively known as nuptial or marital) agreements are essentially wealth and asset protection tools. They are used to safeguard assets and income, provide financial clarity and certainty, and avoid contentious financial litigation following the breakdown of a marriage. They are flexible instruments which can be shaped to suit the circumstances and needs of each couple.

It is a misconception that marital agreements are only for the rich and famous. Such agreements have become far more commonplace as couples enjoy relationships later in life, having established careers, purchased properties and accumulated wealth, as they enter second or third marriages, either with or without children, and where they have received, or could potentially receive, wealth as a gift from family members, as an inheritance, or as a beneficiary under a trust.

Marital agreements are also useful commercial tools which can protect businesses and minimise disruption for partners and shareholders - in conjunction with corporate documents and agreements.

Civil partnership agreements

A pre-civil partnership agreement is a legal agreement made between two individuals before they register their civil partnership. A post-civil partnership agreement is a legal agreement between civil partners after their civil partnership is registered.

Financial claims on the dissolution of a civil partnership are the same as financial claims on divorce (see Matrimonial Finances), so civil partnership agreements set out how couples wish to divide their assets, liabilities and income if their relationship should break down and their civil partnership is dissolved.

Under the law, as it currently stands, marital and civil partnership agreements are not automatically binding or enforceable in England and Wales. However, these agreements are considered by the family court as part of the circumstances of the case in determining financial claims pursuant to divorce or dissolution; they can carry decisive weight and be upheld by the family court if they are freely entered into by each party, with a full appreciation of the implications, and the terms are fundamentally fair.

A well-informed and carefully drafted marital or civil partnership agreement should be upheld by the court, providing it meets the family’s needs.

Living together agreements

A living together agreement (otherwise known as a cohabitation agreement) is a legal document which deals with property, financial and other arrangements for couples who live together, but who are not married or civil partners.

These agreements usually cover living and financial arrangements during the relationship, and on the breakdown of the relationship and death (see
Cohabitation).

Living together agreements will become more common as the rate of marriage continues to decline in England and Wales, and our specialist family team has extensive experience in this area.

Separation agreements

A separation agreement (otherwise known as a deed of separation) is a legal document which usually deals with financial arrangements for married couples and civil partners who are about to separate or have separated, and who wish to formalise the financial arrangements before commencing divorce or dissolution proceedings, or to remain spouses or civil partners, for religious, cultural or personal reasons.

As family law experts, we advise our clients if a separation agreement is suitable and in their best interests in the circumstances of their case. We also advise them on the status and effect of the agreement if their spouse or civil partner should later seek to make financial claims.

Settlement agreements

See Matrimonial Finances.

Why choose Sheridans for agreements?

Our specialist family team has a wealth of experience negotiating, drafting and advising on nuptial, civil partnership, living together, separation and settlement agreements - many of which are complex.

We consider our clients’ objectives, support them through the process and provide bespoke agreements that meet the requirements of the family court.

The team deals with both domestic and international agreements involving legalities and assets in multiple jurisdictions. We have established a network of family lawyers, experts and professionals in other jurisdictions to assist our clients. We also assist lawyers in other jurisdictions whose clients require family law advice in England and Wales.

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Divorce, Dissolution, Separation and Nullity
A relationship breakdown that ends in divorce or dissolution can be a challenging and emotional subject to discuss, whether for personal, religious or cultural reasons.
Matrimonial Finances
One of the more complex areas of family law is financial provision following divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership.
Cohabitation
Common law marriage is a myth in England and Wales. As a result of this common misconception, cohabitees can find themselves in financial difficulty if their relationship breaks down.
International Family Law
Many of our cases cross jurisdictions and involve conflicts of law and cross-border disputes. We regularly advise clients on international issues arising in cases involving finances, agreements and arrangements for children and seek advice from our international network of family lawyers on the application of foreign law.
Enforcement of court orders
Our highly skilled family team assists clients by taking action to enforce court orders in circumstances where there has been a breach.
Child arrangements
We assist our clients in all aspects of private children law, and guide them through, what can often be a very emotional and challenging time.
Financial provision for children
Our specialist family team advises on the full range of financial provision which can be made for the benefit of children of married and unmarried couples, pursuant to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 (known as Schedule 1).
Adoption
Our specialist family team has a wealth of experience, and supports clients through private adoption with care and compassion.
Surrogacy and parental orders
Surrogacy is one of a range of assisted conception options for people who are unable to conceive or carry a child themselves.
Protective Measures and Injunctions
Abuse and violence within any family is a matter that our expert team handles with utmost care and sensitivity.
Family Mediation
Mediation is a method for resolving disputes which is wholly endorsed by the family justice system and family law practitioners.
Other alternative dispute resolution
Litigating in the family court should be a last resort, but there are cases in which an application is necessary, and court proceedings cannot be avoided. The members of our expert team are highly experienced strategists and litigators, should any family matter reach this point.
Divorce, Dissolution, Separation and Nullity
Matrimonial Finances
Cohabitation
International Family Law
Enforcement of court orders
Child arrangements
Financial provision for children
Adoption
Surrogacy and parental orders
Protective Measures and Injunctions
Family Mediation
Other alternative dispute resolution

Meet the team

Sheridans has a specialist family team which provides advice in all aspects of family law, within a leading media, entertainment and technology law firm. We understand our clients’ needs for discretion, personal and bespoke advice in order to manage highly sensitive family cases.

Our TESTIMONIALS 

‘I found the quality of service outstanding. All of the individuals I encountered were extremely impressive – very on the ball legally and extremely responsive.’

‘Sheridans provides brilliant and balanced advice. It handles its cases with an effortless efficiency and there is an air of reassuring quality when dealing with the firm.’

‘Sheridans has a wealth of experience in all aspects of private family law. It routinely acts for high-net-worth and high-profile individuals such as actors, sports stars and elite athletes, and there is often a significant international dimension to its work.’

‘Nothing is too much hassle, and everything is done promptly. Experienced, thoughtful and professional.’

‘The children/private law practice is first class – they show a real commitment to their clients and are able, with considerable expertise and an excellent knowledge base, to offer the type of service clients need. They offer realistic advice and then drive and persevere to pursue their case.’

‘The team provides a very personal and joined up experience across their different practice areas.’

‘Professional and knowledgeable. Very helpful and concentrates on what is absolutely needed.’

‘The team is well-placed to advise those who are susceptible to press exposure.’

‘The group’s particular expertise lies in advising wealthy individuals on issues such as matrimonial finance and private law children matters frequently with an international dimension.’

About SHERIDANS

Sheridans is a leading media and technology law firm whose lawyers combine in-depth legal and commercial knowledge with breadth of expertise and experience to give unparalleled advice to their clients.