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Pre or Post Nuptial Agreements

Pre-nuptial AgreementsThough many people do not like to think about what might happen in the event that their marriage or civil partnership fails at some point in the future, it can make a lot of sense to make plans for just such an event right from the outset.In some cases, one or both of the parties may have been married before or you may have acquired assets in your own right before you met your future spouse/civil partner. Alternatively, you may be expecting to receive an inheritance which you wish to protect or you may simply decide that you want to make plans for what will happen in the event that you do separate so that you can avoid having to make those decisions later when you may be feeling stressed and emotional.A pre-nuptial agreement is not automatically legally binding. However if you are open and honest with each other about your financial positions and both parties receive legal advice before the agreement is signed, the court will give consideration to the pre-nuptial agreement and it will be strong evidence of your intention. The court will be reluctant to depart from what has been agreed unless there is evidence that one of the parties signed under influence or duress, the parties did not understand the full implications at the time that the agreement was signed, the needs of one of the parties is not met and/or it would be unfair to hold the parties to the agreement. For these reasons, it is important to seek legal advice to minimise the likelihood that any of these factors will apply and to ensure that the agreement is more likely to be binding in the event that the marriage does break down.We will take information from you about what has been agreed, give you advice about the terms of the agreement and whether it is likely to be seen as fair and we can draft the pre-nuptial agreement for you.Post-nuptial AgreementsUnlike a pre-nuptial agreement which is entered into before a marriage (or civil partnership), you may decide to enter into a post-nuptial agreement during the course of a marriage (or civil partnership) instead.There could be a variety of reasons for this. For instance, you may not have had the time or inclination to consider an agreement at the commencement of the marriage but now feel it prudent to do so.A post-nuptial agreement can deal with a variety of issues in the event of a breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership including where you will live, what will happen to property, who will pay for outgoings, what will happen to joint bank accounts and payment of maintenance.The Court will give a lot of weight to a correctly executed post nuptial agreement as it will be strong evidence of the parties’ intention. However, there are exceptions. These include the lack of full and frank financial disclosure or independent legal advice. It is therefore important to ensure that you seek legal advice if you are considering entering into a post-nuptial agreement to give you the best chance of ensuring that the agreement can be relied upon when it really matters.We will take information from you about what has been agreed, give you advice about the terms which have been agreed and whether it is likely to be seen as fair and we can draft the post-nuptial agreement for you.Free information meetingWe are pleased to offer all potential new clients a free, no obligation information meeting.The meeting will not normally be longer than 20-30 minutes and is designed to give us the opportunity to take a little bit more information from you and give you a general overview of what we can do to help and how much it might cost.We find that this works very well because it allows you to make an informed decision about whether to engage our services and gives you the opportunity to establish an immediate relationship with us in person.Our feesWe are able to offer very competitive, cost effective and flexible packages to suit your individual needs dependent upon how much or how little you would like us to do for you.Next StepsFor more information, an informal chat or to book an appointment – call our family law specialist on 020 7790 2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Financial Remedies

It is very often the case that before or during the course of a marriage or a civil partnership, the parties will have acquired assets either in their sole name or jointly with their spouse or civil partner.If the marriage or civil partnership later breaks down, the parties will need to consider what will happen to those assets and whether any other orders are required (e.g. in relation to maintenance or pensions). Adams can help you to resolve these issues.In our experience, financial arrangements on divorce or dissolution usually work best when the parties have been able to make their own decisions about their finances rather than if they have had a decision imposed upon them by the court. For this reason, we will try to encourage you to think about alternative dispute resolution methods and assist you to come to an agreement with your spouse or civil partner in the first instance if possible.There are a number of ways that we can assist you to reach an agreement with your spouse or civil partner about the division of your assets. Please see our mediation page for more information (link to mediation page)If you are able to reach an agreement with your spouse about the financial aspects of the relationship breakdown, we can record the terms in a consent order which can then be sent to the court for approval. The court will usually approve the order without either party being present. Once the order has been approved, it is legally binding and enforceable. This has the benefit of giving the parties certainty that neither of them can go back on what has been agreed between them. We can offer a fixed fee to draw up the consent order for you – please contact us for more information.Separation AgreementsSeparation agreements, like the name suggests, are agreements entered into by both parties upon separation.You may be thinking about separating from your spouse or civil partner. Alternatively you may have separated, perhaps very recently, and though you’d like to get your financial affairs in order, you may not be ready to take the step of petitioning for divorce just yet.In such circumstances, you may find that a separation agreement is very useful. It can deal with a variety of issues on separation such as who will meet obligations and outgoings and for how long, what will happen to joint debts, what will happen to property, what maintenance is to be paid and it can even set out where it has been agreed that the children will live and how often they will see the other party.A separation agreement is not legally binding. However, if it has been entered into with the benefit of independent legal advice and following full and frank financial disclosure by both parties’, it will be very strong evidence of the parties’ intentions and the court will be reluctant to depart from it except in exceptional circumstances.It is important to ensure that you obtain legal advice to ensure that we give you the best chance of ensuring that the agreement can later be relied upon if necessary.We will take information from you about what has been agreed, give you advice about the terms which have been agreed and whether it is likely to be seen as fair and we can draft the separation agreement for you.We can offer competitive fees which can usually fixed when we know what is involved. Please contact us on 020 7790 2000 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more.Financial RemediesIf attempts to resolve the financial aspects of the divorce or dissolution are unsuccessful, you may need to consider applying to the court for a financial remedy. We will usually do so when we reach the Decree Nisi stage of the divorce (because it is not possible for the court to approve or make an order until this stage of the proceedings.Types of order that the court can makeThere are a number of different types of remedy available to the court. These include the following types of order; Property adjustment – an order transferring or settling property Periodical payments – an order for payment of money on a regular basis Lump sum – an order for a lump sum payment (sometimes by instalments) Pension sharing or attachment – various ways of sharing pension rightsMaking the application and the court processWe will prepare your application for you and send it to the court for issue.When your application has been issued by the court, both parties will be required to exchange information about their financial affairs. This is known as financial disclosure and the court will expect the parties to be full & frank about their finances – there are sanctions for failure to do so. The application will also be listed for a First Appointment (the first hearing).When disclosure has been forthcoming, and both parties are satisfied that the information to hand is complete and accurate, we can usually start to negotiate a potential financial settlement.Sometimes it is possible to come to an agreement before the First Appointment. In general however, most financial remedy applications do reach at least this stage. It is quite possible that an agreement can be reached at the first hearing, provided that the parties are satisfied that there has been full and accurate disclosure.If it is not possible to reach an agreement, or there is further disclosure outstanding, the Court will give directions as to how the matter should proceed. These directions usually consist of case management provisions i.e. the disclosure of any outstanding financial information, valuation of properties which cannot be agreed or gathering additional evidence for instance. The court will also list the matter for the next hearing which is known as the Financial Dispute Resolution hearing (or FDR).Many cases will settle before or during the FDR hearing. At this hearing, both parties’ representatives will make submissions to the Judge setting out what their client is seeking. Having heard those submissions, the Judge will then give an indication of the likely order that the parties could expect to receive should the matter proceed to a final hearing. The parties then have the option of negotiating an agreement based upon the indications given the Judge, or setting the matter down for a final hearing if an agreement still cannot be reached. However, the indication given by the Judge is often very persuasive and can help to narrow the issues in dispute. It is for this reason that many cases settle at this stage or shortly afterwards.The factors which the Court will take into accountWhen determining what constitutes a “fair” settlement in your case, we will take various matters into account as set out in s.25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.The factors which will be taken into account include the following; The income, earning capacity, property or other financial resources which each of the parties to the marriage has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future, including any potential increase in earning capacity. The financial needs, obligations and responsibilities of both parties. The standard of living enjoyed by both parties within the marriage. The age of each party and the duration of the marriage. Any physical or mental disability of either party. Any contributions which either party has made to the marriage or is likely to make. The conduct of each party (if it is considered that to disregard the behaviour would be unfair). The value to each party of any benefit which, upon dissolution of the marriage, that party will lose the chance of acquiring.Since the court has a very wide discretion to apply the factors set out above and due to the fact that every case is different on its facts, it is useful to have clear and comprehensive legal advice throughout the process.Financial InjunctionsSince the process of determining a fair financial settlement upon divorce or dissolution can take some time resolve, it is important to ensure that all of the assets of the marriage are maintained as far as is possible.Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case that one of the parties will attempt to try to dispose of assets to prevent the other party from establishing a claim or an interest in them.If this should occur, it is very important that urgent consideration is given to obtaining a financial injunction. This can prevent a disposition before it occurs or can sometimes be obtained to freeze proceeds received from a disposal which has already taken place. It may also be possible to apply to ask the court to set aside the disposal.We will need to take detailed instructions from you about your situation to establish whether it is possible and necessary to apply for a financial injunction in your case. In exceptional cases, these applications may be made without informing the other party that you are doing so.If you suspect that there is any possibility that a disposition has been or is about to be made, it is important that you contact us as a matter of urgency so that we may meet with you to discuss the options and the merits of your case.Free information meetingWe are pleased to offer all potential new clients a free, no obligation information meeting.The meeting will not normally be longer than 20-30 minutes and is designed to give us the opportunity to take a little bit more information from you and give you a general overview of what we can do to help and how much it might cost.We find that this works very well because it allows you to make an informed decision about whether to engage our services and gives you the opportunity to establish an immediate relationship with us in person.Next StepsWe are able to offer very competitive, cost effective and flexible packages to suit your individual needs dependent upon how much or how little you would like us to do for you. Please contact us on 020 7790 2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.Save
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Domestic Violence

If you have been subjected to domestic violence, you may be entitled to apply for a Non-Molestation Order. You may also be entitled to apply for an Occupation Order to exclude the perpetrator from the home in which you reside.Non-Molestation OrderA Non-Molestation Order is designed to protect you from violent and abusive behaviour. In general terms, if granted, it can forbid the other party from threatening or using any unlawful violence towards you, communicating with you by any means, coming near the property in which you are residing and/or damaging your home or belongings and instructing anyone else to do so.You can only make an application for a Non-Molestation Order where the other party is an “associated person”. We can tell you whether you can apply at your initial meeting with us. However, generally speaking, a former partner (dependent upon the length and intimacy of the relationship) or family member will usually be an associated person.You should bear in mind that the definition of domestic violence goes further than physical violence. Emotional harm, threatening behaviour and abuse can also constitute domestic violence and we will discuss this with you at the first meeting.If you are eligible to apply for a Non-Molestation Order, we will take detailed instructions from you about the history of the matter and the events that have occurred. We will then take steps to prepare your application and apply to the courtfor an emergency order to protect you (and your children, if applicable) from the violent and/or abusive behaviour.In the first instance, we will usually make the application without informing that you are making the application to the court. If the court grants the order, we will then instruct a process server to collect the order from the court and serve it upon the other party in accordance with your instructions.In most cases, the court may grant the Non-Molestation Order at the first hearing (at which the other party will not be present) but a further hearing will usually be listed on another day at which the other party will have the right to attend and oppose the application if they wish to do so. However, some courts do not automatically list a further hearing and will instead only list a further hearing to consider the order if the other party requests it.Occupation OrderAn Occupation Order can regulate how a person exercises their right to occupy a property. The court is able to make an order restricting a person’s right to occupy a property in which they have an interest. This might be by restricting the person to occupation of certain defined parts of the home or by preventing them from occupying the home altogether.In most cases, the order will usually apply to the family home in which the parties had been residing together.You may be sharing your property with the other party who has been perpetrating the violence or abuse. You may want to stay in your home but feel that you have no option but to leave to escape the abusive behaviour. However, you may be entitled to apply for an Occupation Order which, if granted, can compel the other party to leave the property and prevent them from returning.An Occupation Order is a very draconian order since it can effectively restrict the other party’s legal right to occupy their own property. As a result, the court will be reluctant to grant the order unless there is a real risk of violence or harm. Furthermore, the Court will very rarely grant an Occupation Order without first hearing from the other party.When determining whether to grant the application, the court will refer to the “balance of harm” test. To satisfy this test, you must demonstrate that the harm which you and any child of the family might suffer will be greater if the order is not made than it would be to the other party if the order is made.The court will also take into account other factors such as the financial and housing needs and resources of both parties and any children.If the court is not satisfied that a total exclusion from the property is warranted, an order made be made regulating occupation of the family home such that use of the rooms can be divided between you or a timetable regulating occupation at certain times can be implemented.If you are being subjected to abuse, violence, threats or harassment please contact our family law specialist in confidence. We can arrange to see you at very short notice and it is important that you act quickly so that we can obtain these protective orders for you.Free information meetingWe are pleased to offer all potential new clients a free, no obligation information meeting.The meeting will not normally be longer than 20-30 minutes and is designed to give us the opportunity to take a little bit more information from you and give you a general overview of what we can do to help and how much it might cost.We find that this works very well because it allows you to make an informed decision about whether to engage our services and gives you the opportunity to establish an immediate relationship with us in person.Next StepsWe are able to offer very competitive, cost effective and flexible packages to suit your individual needs dependent upon how much or how little you would like us to do for you.For more information, an informal chat or to book an appointment – call our friendly family law specialist on 020 7790 2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Divorce Overview

It is estimated that up to 42% of marriages end in divorce. It is often a very upsetting, stressful and confusing time for the parties involved. As a modern and progressive law firm we adopt a holistic approach when advising and assisting our clients during this difficult time. We can offer expert tailored legal advice and we also have access to a wide range of external agencies and support services, including relationship counselling and support for separating parents. We are committed to making the process as simple, non-confrontational and cost effective as possible. It is our vision to ensure that every one of our clients finishes this process feeling empowered and positive about their future.We will be transparent about our costs from the outset and we can offer very competitive fixed fee rate for divorce and civil partnership dissolution in most cases.Contact us today on 020 7790 2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out how the Adams approach can help you.You can find some more information about judicial separation, divorce and civil partnership dissolution here .
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Cohabitation

In today’s society cohabitation is commonplace. In fact, according to the Office of National Statistics, there were 5.9 million people cohabiting in the UK in 2012. This is almost double the number of people who were cohabiting in 1996.Given the ever increasing number of cohabitants, it is no surprise that we are also seeing an increase in the number of disputes between cohabiting couples if that relationship breaks down.Many people still mistakenly have the belief that there is such a thing as a “common law marriage” and that their rights are therefore protected. This is not the case. When parties are married, the court has extensive powers and a wide discretion to manipulate assets in order to achieve a fair settlement. This is not yet the case for unmarried partners and you may find that your options and/or remedies are very limited if you did not take steps to protect your position from the outset. For instance, you might find that you have real difficulties asserting that you have a share in your partner’s property despite the fact that you have been making a contribution to the family.Cohabitation AgreementsA Cohabitation Agreement can be drawn up if you are considering moving in with someone or purchasing property together.The agreement can set out your intentions in relation to all future arrangements whilst you are living together i.e. who will be responsible for paying the rent/mortgage and bills, how you will deal with debts and joint bank accounts etc.It is sensible to carefully consider whether you might require a cohabitation agreement right from the outset because it can make the separation process far less stressful in the event that the worst should happen. You will have already thought about and decided what should happen in respect of financial arrangements in the event that the relationship breaks down and this can take away this additional burden at what is often a difficult and emotional time.A Cohabitation Agreement is not automatically legally binding but provided you are full and frank about your assets, income and finances and you enter the agreement with the benefit of legal advice - it is strong evidence of intention and the court will be reluctant to depart from it (save in exceptional circumstances).We will take information from you about what has been agreed and give you advice about the terms and whether it is likely to be seen as fair. We can also draft the cohabitation agreement for you.We can offer competitive fixed fees to draft a Cohabitation Agreement for you or to consider a Cohabitation Agreement with you that has been drafted by your partner’s representative. Please contact our specialist family law specialist for an informal chat on 020 7790 2000 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ownershipIf the parties are unmarried but own property together, the laws of trusts and land apply. These laws and rules are very rigid and cannot be departed from. Broadly speaking if the ownership of a property is plainly recorded, it will not be possible to depart from that (save for exceptional circumstances).In the event of separation, it is worthwhile trying to reach an agreement with the joint owner about what will happen to the property in the first instance. We can give you advice about the different options available to you to try to settle your dispute with the other party without resorting to court proceedings. We can assist you during this process and also advise you about the merits of any potential settlement you may be considering. Please see our alternative dispute resolution page for further information (link to ADR page)If both parties can agree, this agreement can be recorded in a Separation Agreement which can set out the main terms. Though not technically legally binding, if both parties provide financial disclosure and have the benefit of legal advice, the agreement will be strong evidence of intention and will hold a lot of weight in any future proceedings.If the parties cannot agree it may be necessary to consider court proceedings but we will explore all of the options with you first.The only remedies available are those governed by the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. The most widely utilised application is for an order for sale of the property – often because one party wants to release their equity. It is also possible to make an application to the court for a declaration as to the nature and extent of your interest in a property.When considering whether to make an Order under this provision, the Court will take into account the following factors; the intentions of the person or persons (if any) who created the trust the purposes for which the property subject to the trust is held the welfare of any minor who occupies or might reasonably be expected to occupy any land subject to the trust as his home, and the interests of any secured creditor of any beneficiary.Where there is a dispute between parties who own property together but are not married, this is usually resolved in one of the following ways; one party buys the other party’s share – i.e. they acquire the whole property by buying the other owner’s share the property is sold and the equity is divided the property is retained subject to a charge to be exercised at a later date and the equity is then divided – a postponed sale is most often used where there are small children living in the propertyWe will assist you to come to an early agreement with the other party as soon as possible to save time and costs. In the event that it is not possible to reach an agreement and a court application becomes necessary, we offer very competitive prices and payment options to make the process as simple and affordable as possible.Free information meetingWe are pleased to offer all potential new clients a free, no obligation information meeting.The meeting will not normally be longer than 20-30 minutes and is designed to give us the opportunity to take a little bit more information from you and give you a general overview of what we can do to help and how much it might cost.We find that this works very well because it allows you to make an informed decision about whether to engage our services and gives you the opportunity to establish an immediate relationship with us in person.Next StepsFor more information, an informal chat or to book an appointment – call our family law specialist on 020 7790 2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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