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We understand that is not the most romantic prospect in the world to ask your spouse/partner to sign an agreement to put some parameters in place in the event that the relationship ends further down the line. Many people avoid broaching the subject for fear of damaging relations and potentially discouraging the other person from marriage or formal cohabitation. Entering into a formal agreement regarding your finances however can provide clarity and a degree of certainty for both parties to the relationship thereby reducing potential stress in the future.

If you are about to marry/enter into a civil partnership or start to formally cohabit with your partner you may want to consider putting some safeguards in place to protect yourself financially against the unfortunate breakdown of your relationship. Dpending on your circumstances, a formal agreement may involve entering into a pre or post nuptial agreement, pre-civil partnership contract or cohabitation deed.

Pre & post-nuptial agreements have been growing in popularity as a result of recent decisions of the Higher Courts, which have endorsed both pre and post nuptial agreements on the proviso that they are negotiated sensibly and each party has had proper independent legal advice. 

You may be concerned about becoming embroiled in an expensive legal debate with two sets of solicitors negotiating terms of the agreement for you, a process which doesn’t, by its nature, necessarily lend itself to positive relations however sensitively it is approached. There is however another way to negotiating the terms of the agreement and this is through the process of family mediation. 

Mediation as a process is far more conciliatory than traditional methods of solicitor negotiations. The format of family mediation involves you and your partner sitting in same room with an experienced family law mediator and discussing matters around a table. The mediator can facilitate those discussions and help you to work through any matters in dispute in a sensitive and constructive manner. Mediation is not an alternative to legal advice and it is important that you and your partner each have the benefit of advice from independent legal advisers throughout the process. Mediation is however a face to face forum through which the substantive discussions take place and you can work through any potential points of conflict/difficulty together as opposed to written correspondence on your behalf in a language which is not necessarily your own. 

The majority of literature and articles on the process of family mediation relate to how the process can assist and be a constructive method of resolving issues upon the breakdown of a relationship. Family mediation however is also an ideal forum for discussing financial matters prior to a marriage/entering a civil partnership or matters which may arise when purchasing a property or choosing to live with a new partner for the first time.

For more information and a confidential initial discussion please contact our specialist mediators Sally or Laura on 0113 357 1315 or at