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March 2014 - Collaborative Pre-nuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between couples intending to marry and are taken out to govern the arrangements for their finances in the event of separation. Already commonplace in many countries in mainland Europe, they are becoming increasingly popular in this country for those who seek the reassurance of certainty of outcome if there were to be a divorce, rather than take their chances on the law.  The courts are also showing a greater willingness to uphold them as binding.

In light of that, couples in North Hampshire are being offered a new service to sort out their prenuptial agreement through a process called Collaborative Law.

The traditional method of negotiating a prenuptial agreement is that each party instructs their own solicitor and the document is negotiated through correspondence. For straight forward agreements, this can prove effective.

However in situations where the proposed agreements are more complicated (e.g. say for the treatment of an inheritance or a family business) or where there are tricky clauses which are potentially contentious between the couple, there is a risk that the correspondence can become more heated. This in turn can leave the couple feeling slightly pitted against one another - which results in the marriage starting off on entirely the wrong footing!

Collaborative Law is a refreshing and alternative way of sorting things out, whereby each person has their own specially trained lawyer by their side and everyone meets together in four-way meetings to iron out an agreement that works for all concerned.

Rob Parker, Collaborative Lawyer at Phillips Solicitors Ltd and Chair of the North Hampshire Collaborative Law Group explains, ‘Instead of the lawyers engaging in a seemingly endless ping-pong of letters and phone calls, everyone, the couple included, can talk things over and work out the details face-to-face. The result is an altogether more mutually-satisfactory arrangement and the couple can move forward into their marriage in a more trusted and transparent way.’

Moreover, working collaboratively helps eliminate any power imbalances in the negotiations – so crucial if the prenuptial agreement did ever have to be looked at by a judge.

For more information contact Rob Parker on 01256 854604 or email rparker@phillips-law.co.uk