With the romance of Valentine’s Day now behind us, let’s talk again about the practical aspects of our relationships.

With the unavoidable increase in divorce and separation rates, it means that more of us who are getting married or moving in together are not “first timers“. Not only that, either one or both parties may have children from a previous marriage. This can mean ongoing financial ties to an ex-partner and possibly having a home or assets to bring into the new relationship.

So it’s  more important than ever for couples to take a small step back from the romance of their new relationship or wedding plans and think about the practicalities. If they are about to start living together, or planning to tie the knot, they should take legal advice on having a Cohabitation Agreement or Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

These don’t have to be long or complicated documents. The aim is to record what can be agreed amicably straight away, to cover what would happen if you ever did split up:-

  • Do you get to keep the property you brought into the relationship ?
  • Do you have to financially support one another after separation ?
  • How do you split anything held in joint names ?
  • Do you have to share any debts ?

The idea of considering a pre-nup early on is to avoid the time, anxiety and cost of a complex legal battle further down the line. Of course no-one has a crystal ball and your thoughts on how assets should be divided between you may change if you are married for many years, or if you have children together but in that case, no problem – you simply agree to review the terms of the Agreement on certain “trigger” events.

If you would like more information on having a Cohabitation or Pre-Nuptial Agreement drawn up please contact


Vijaya Sumputh

0208 363 4444


Amanda Thurston 

01992 463727

Curwens LLP is your local firm of solicitors offering you expert legal advice when you need it most.

Offices in Royston, Hoddesdon and Enfield.




Seasonal Checklist for HR

Seasonal Checklist for HR”…..T’is the season to be jolly“, (“falalalala la la la la“) … so we thought employers and HR managers might find this seasonal post useful….

At this time of year, the last thing we want to think about is a legal issue but I thought it might be helpful to share a few thoughts with you if you are an employer and have the Christmas staff celebrations to deal with. I spotted this great seasonal post, courtesy of Daniel Barnett sharing an excellent blogpost by Gemma Reucroft :


“This is the ultimate advice checklist for how HR should deal with Christmas issues…

1. Employees sometimes do stupid stuff. At Christmas time and otherwise.
2. Just deal with it.
3. Resist the urge to worry too much about vicarious liability, discrimination and constructive dismissal. Although it is probably a good idea not to put any mistletoe up in the office.
4. Resist the urge to write any sort of policy.
5. Resist the urge to put any sort of disclaimer about behaviour in any Christmas party related literature. If someone wants to punch Bob from Accounts on the dance floor after 12 pints of beer then they will do it anyway. See points 1 and 2.
6. Resist the urge to write special rules about absence from work after social events. See point 2.
7. Apply Christmas common sense.
8. Avoid sprouts in an office environment at all times. This is especially important in small or poorly ventilated offices.
9. Never, ever, buy Secret Santa presents from Ann Summers.
10. Enjoy yourself. Put a tree up. Eat some Quality Street. Wear a Christmas jumper.”

Timely advice indeed !

Best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful, peaceful Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

NEM new profile pic March 2013

Norma Morris


Still not networking ?

Curwens LLP Logo HIGH QUALITY smaller                                                                                                             NEM new profile pic March 2013

It does surprise me just how often I go to open networking events, such as those at the North London Chamber of Commerce and find that I’m the only solicitor in the room.

That’s fine for me, because I make plenty of business connections which  develop into business relationships – and that takes time, as we know – but what about the thousands of other businesses who are struggling to make connections ?  I do wonder how others are getting to meet fellow business people in their local communities.

I’ve noticed that the networking meetings list is growing, particularly in North London and Hertfordshire, with a whole range of events (often in pubs!) which gives us the opportunity of meeting informally and testing out the potential for another conversation at another time.  Those of us who are in the Chambers of Commerce, BNI, Athena or similar much more focussed networking groups know the value of follow-up after that first introduction – whether just over a cup of coffee or a longer one-to-one meeting.

People will do business with people they get to know, like and trust and who are willing to help them, so I’m always encouraging our younger solicitors to develop that approach with people they meet.

Don’t be afraid of rejection. They do say “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your handsome Prince“. So if you don’t hit gold first time round, keep trying and keep the mind-set to ask about the other person first. You never know who you’ll be able to help and who in turn will help you improve your own business connections.

My suggestion to anyone who is looking for more business but is not yet attending networking events is to take a deep breath, grab a pile of your business cards and get out there (with a smile, a firm handshake and an open mind) to widen your network…..and don’t forget to follow-up / follow-up / follow-up!  I’m not an expert, but if you’re still thinking about trying networking and want to talk it over, just give me a ring – 0208 363 4444.  I’m happy to help !

“There’s no-one quite like Grandma…..”

….so sang the St.Wilfred’s School Choir in 1980.  Those children themselves may now be grandparents…. and grandparents can often be forgotten in their children’s relationship breakdown – the idea of not seeing their grandchildren is devastating, but many grandparents have successfully negotiated, either in or out of Court for the right to see them.  I’m grateful to my colleague at Curwens Solicitors, Family Law expert, Vijaya Sumputh for her comments on this :

What can grandparents do?

If you’re a grandparent and face losing contact with your grandchildren, you should:

  • approach the parents – explain that no matter what the problems are between them, you, as a grandparent, will not take sides because you only want to keep contact with your grandchildren – everyone will benefit.
  • consider Mediation – an independent mediator will help to reach an agreement with the parents.
  • try to diffuse the tension of the situation and explain why you feel contact is so important for your grandchildren.
  • if all this fails, it is possible to make an application to the Court.

Grandparents need permission from the Court to make an application but who doesn’t ?

Only a small number of people  :

    1. A parent
    2. Any party with whom the child has lived for at least 3 years;
    3. Any person with the consent of an individual named in the Child Arrangements Order as having residence of the child;
    4. The Local Authority, if the child is in care;
    5. Any person with consent of someone who has parental responsibility. Family Courts do recognize and will promote the invaluable role that grandparents have to play in their grandchildren’s life.  If an Order is made, the Court’s powers to enforce such orders have recently been increased in such a way that makes it extremely difficult for parents to ignore them. It is therefore a very powerful way to ensure that grandparents can maintain a meaningful and fulfilling relationship with their grandchildren.

If you think what I have described fits your circumstances, give my colleague, Vijaya Sumputh, a call for an initial, no obligation chat on 0208 363 4444 or email her on