I can help you bypass the truly awful adversarial process of the courts at the time of the breakup...

Jo O'sullivan

Relationship Agreements

For those considering marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation (or for those already married or in a civil partnership a post nuptial) then I highly recommend doing some initial work together as a couple.

I am the only solicitor and mediator in this jurisdiction using ‘Designing Our Future Together’ workbooks. These exciting workbooks help you plan for your next chapter. As a couple you’ll discover the following:

  • What are your values?
  • What are your communication styles?
  • How do you give and receive love and support – what will work for the other?
  • Trust
  • How will you make financial decisions?  What are your attitudes to money?
  • Will there be children?
  • What will happen about any pets?

And anything else that’s really important to you both.

Using the workbook, you both start to think about the legal stuff and to gather the information needed for me to draft pre-nups, post nups and cohabitation agreements.

These workbooks mean that our work together will be ‘relationship optimistic’, hopeful and look to the future with loving pragmatism.

The process options of Collaboration, Mediation and Negotiation can be used to assist couples, in an intimate relationship, who want to formalise ( as far as possible) their financial settlement and arrangements should their relationship come to an end. Sadly, most people do not consider these options. This is because many people find them unromantic or indicate a lack of trust in each other. I would say that it’s easier to try to think through the implications of separating when things are going well rather than wait until the break – up when emotions are running high.

I encourage you to see any agreements reached as a way of caring for each other should things go wrong.

I will draft these documents for you.

The type of agreement you need will depend on the type of relationship.

Cohabitation (you live together in an intimate relationship but have not married or formed a civil partnership)
If you are planning to live together and own property together then I would advise both a co-habitation agreement and a deed of trust. The co-habitation agreement will consider how you will manage your financial affairs (e.g. who pays the bills). The deed of trust will set out who owns what share of the property/land. Both can be very simple documents or very complex ones depending on your circumstances.

NB No automatic rights are extended to partners because they have cohabited for a certain length of time; ie, there is no such thing as common law marriage.

Marriage and Civil Partnership

Pre Nuptial
If you are planning on marrying or forming a civil partnership then a pre-nuptial or pre-civil partnership agreement should be considered. This is especially important if one of you has more capital and or income or is likely to inherit or bring more monies into the relationship. These agreements are very suited to either the Collaborative Practice or mediation as your relationship is likely to remain intact whilst negotiations and financial disclosure take place. It is my experience that these can be speedily prepared and finalised.

Post Nuptial
It’s not too late to formalise the financial arrangements even after you have tied the knot. A post nuptial can be entered into anytime after the marriage or civil partnership has taken place.

You’ll need to seek up to date advice on this ever evolving area of law from me.Please call me for a chat about these options on 07780 676 212  or email on jo@osullivanfamilylaw.com.