Despite allegations of aged old paternalism, courts are increasingly turning to empowerment of the litigants to reach an agreement themselves, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming final hearings. In my experience, when it comes to pre-nuptial agreements and parenting plans, parties are unlikely to reach an agreement without prompting from their solicitors.

Parenting plans

A parenting plan is a menu of conversation prompts designed to enable parents to discuss all aspects of their children's' lives, both current and future, and can be disclosed to the court in the event of a dispute. It is designed to pre-empt disagreements and multiple court applications, and covers everything from schooling, to the introduction of new partners. A helpful leaflet and template is provided by Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service); you can find out more about parenting plans on our website here.

Pre-nuptial agreements

Unlike in the United States of America, pre-nuptial agreements are not fully binding. The court, however, should give effect to one if it is freely entered into by both parties, who are fully appreciating of its implications and unless the circumstances prevailing it are deemed fair if they were held. Essentially, if both parties take legal advice and make full disclosure, and there are no procedural irregularities, a court will endorse the agreement. Both parties should take legal advice well before the marriage ceremony to avoid legal issues, such as the perception of undue influence and the practical realities of actually getting it all done thoroughly and correctly.

For further information

To find out more about how Anthony Collins Solicitors can support you through with parenting plans or pre-nuptial agreements, please contact Elizabeth Wyatt.