Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
We can advise and draft a pre-nuptial agreement if you are intending to marry and need advise regarding a pre-marital agreement and the possibility of protecting assets that you have acquired before marriage.
Pre-nuptial agreements are formal agreements between couples which set out what the financial arrangements are to be both during the marriage and in the event the relationship breaks down. A Post-nuptial agreement is exactly the same and is entered into after the marriage.
Although pre-nuptial agreements are not binding under English Law, there is a trend towards the Courts recognising Pre-nuptial agreements and attaching weight to them where the terms are seen to be reasonable.
Peace of mind
Although a pre-nuptial agreement may not be for everyone, there are some benefits of having one in place. They provide certainty and security for both parties in the event of a divorce or separation. The agreement is not just about protecting assets, but also ensuring that appropriate financial provision is made for both parties if their relationship breaks down.
It may be that one party has brought substantial property assets into the marriage and will want them ring fenced. In financial proceedings it is unlikely to carry much weight if those resources are required to meet the parties’ needs or after a long marriage or civil partnership. If you want certain assets to be ring-fenced you will need to record this in a marriage agreement.
Gifts and inheritance
Many couples mistakenly believe that if they receive a gift or inheritance prior to or during the marriage or civil partnership their spouse or civil partner will have no claim against it. That is not the case and if needs must the Court can redistribute funds gifted or inherited by one party to the other. If you have or are likely to receive a substantial gift or inheritance it is certainly worth having a marriage agreement.
Once bitten twice shy, as the saying goes. If you’ve been through a messy divorce or separation before it is understandable that you’d want to avoid going through it again. Indeed, for that very reason, the Court will attach far greater weight to an agreement entered into in contemplation of a second marriage or civil partnership.
Avoiding the hassle
It may not be the most romantic thing to do before your big day, but many clients say they found the process very therapeutic and reassuring. Forewarned is forearmed, right? If you know what you are entitled to from the outset it is likely to be far less acrimonious if the relationship breaks down later on. A marriage agreement can also help avoid the emotional stress and cost of contested litigation that can so often follow the breakdown of a relationship.
- Both parties must have had the benefit of independent legal advice regarding the terms of the agreement.
- Both parties must have provided their financial disclosure to each other and their legal advisers prior to the terms of the agreement being finalised.
- There must be no evidence of undue pressure being exerted to sign the agreement.
- The agreement must provide a fair settlement, meeting the needs of both parties in the relationship and any children.
- The agreement must be entered into no fewer than 21 days prior to the marriage or civil partnership ceremony.
- The agreement should be reviewed regularly and, if necessary, updated to ensure that the terms take account of any change in the parties’ circumstances and remain fair.