David Burrows, Solicitor Advocate. There is a spectrum of circumstances in which an agreement between married couples, civil partners and unmarried parents is of relevance in financial proceedings after relationship breakdown. The critical point for most is the point at which the agreement passes from enforcement between the parties in contract only, to enforcement under a court order and beyond. The value of any agreement or court order is only as great as its effectiveness in terms of enforcement; and agreements and orders between separated couples are no different. Looking at the spectrum of enforceability, David Burrows reviews some cases which act as reminders of the importance of the Edgar v Edgar  1 WLR 1410, (1981) 2 FLR 19 case as a basis for defining the agreement/order fulcrum and assessing the extent to which the court should take into account an agreement between the parties to financial provision proceedings.
The case of NA v MA  EWHC 2900 (Fam),  1 FLR 1760 concerned the efficacy of a postnuptial agreement in ancillary relief proceedings. The author goes on to look at the issues this raised in terms of enforceability, before considering some further related questions and the operation of the proprietary estoppel principle in this context. For the full article, see September  Fam Law.