Choosing to marry is a huge decision, and one which inevitably has a significant impact on both parties' finances. After marriage resources often become intermingled as time goes on, and if your relationship were to sadly end in the future the court would have the power to consider all assets of the marriage when determining what would be a fair financial settlement. However, entering into a pre or post nuptial agreement gives both parties to the relationship the opportunity to decide how a fair division of assets might look in advance. If you are bringing assets to the marriage that you would like to protect, whether it be property, money, a business or an inheritance, a pre or post nuptial agreement could help you do this.
As long as both parties have had enough time to consider the agreement, have had the opportunity to take independent legal advice and have entered into the agreement of their own free will, the court will look to it when determining the parties' final financial settlement, should the marriage sadly come to an end. So long as the court is satisfied that each party, and any children, would have their needs met if the agreement were to be followed, the court must give weight to it, and cannot disregard it. The court isn't duty bound to follow the agreement in its exact form, but will often treat it as a guide so long as the appropriate legal requirements are met.
Raising the subject of a pre or post nuptial agreement should not be seen as an aggressive or defensive step, but instead as a real opportunity to prepare for the worst case scenario with your partner in a fair, open and honest way, without the emotional stress and pressure of a relationship breakdown to cloud your judgement. The court treats pre and post nuptial agreements in exactly the same way, and neither is seen to be more effective than the other, so it is never too late to start the conversation.
If you would like to know more about how a pre or post nuptial agreement could affect your circumstances, contact a member of the BPE Family team for more information on how we can help you plan ahead to protect your interests in a fair and respectful way.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.