Pre-registration contracts are a very new, developing area of Family Law.
They are not currently enforceable in the Courts of England and Wales as they follow pre-marital agreements, which have traditionally been thought of as being 'against public policy'. In recent years pre-marital agreements have been upheld by the courts in certain circumstances but the law falls short of providing the level of certainty couples want when they make an agreement.
With social attitudes changing, increasing numbers of couples are choosing to put pre-registration contracts in place, but their validity comes into question if the couple cannot rely upon the fact that their agreement will be enforceable at a later date. Carla Hull Solicitors Limited agrees with Resolution (www.resolution.org.uk) that legal certainty is a better solution than the Courts upholding the agreements on a case by case basis without any legislative backing.
In the course of our work with clients, we have found that an increasing number of couples wish to take steps to minimise the uncertainty of the Court's approach to financial arrangements upon dissolution and to decide for themselves what a fair settlement would be. The current law means that financial outcomes are unclear and uncertain, which most families find unacceptable.
Anecdotal evidence from family lawyers across England and Wales gathered by Resolution suggests that increasing numbers of couples explore the possibility of making agreements but are deterred by the lack of certainty over whether they will be upheld.
There is a need, at times, to protect the weaker person in a partnership but where a couple chooses to make an agreement in the full knowledge of its effect, they should be entitled to have it upheld by the courts.
Pre-registration contracts are clearly not for everyone but as more and more of us embark on second or even third partnerships, the demand will grow for couples to be able to control their own lives and have at least some measure of certainty as to what will occur in the event of a relationship breakdown.
Carla Hull Solicitors Limited can assist you in drafting and finalising a Pre-Registration Contract, which, although not strictly enforceable, could be taken into account by the Court as a relevant factor to consider if the civil partnership breaks down. We will be able to advise you as to what circumstances the Court would consider the agreement, and how much weight should be given to it in your particular circumstances.