With Valentine’s Day around the corner and romance in the air, many couples will see themselves getting engaged this February and other couples may already be planning for their special day this spring or summer.
With that in mind, it is important to consider whether you and your partner should consider entering into a prenuptial agreement before the big day.
A pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement between a couple, before marriage, which sets out what financial provision will be made for each of you should the marriage come to an end. The agreement often seeks to protect assets you already own and separates those from assets which you have acquired together or will do in the future. Whilst prenuptial agreements aren’t yet legally binding, the Courts will consider their relevance in the overall circumstances of a case and they can be a compelling factor in determining the financial outcome of a divorce. They are becoming increasingly recognised by the Court, providing they have been properly entered into, with both parties having access to independent legal advice and material financial information about each other’s personal circumstances. The Court will also consider if the agreement was signed in good time - at least 28 days before the wedding - to ensure that one person hasn’t been pressurised into signing the agreement.
As such, it is essential that proper advice is sought and agreements are drawn up by a legal professional well in advance of the wedding. This gives you time to arrange an exchange of full and frank disclosure of your financial positions and ensures that you are properly informed before signing any agreement.
Many couples will find it difficult to approach this subject, and it’s perhaps not the most romantic of topics. However, some careful and sensible planning may save you a significant amount of uncertainty and legal costs, should the marriage sadly fail.
If you’re already married, you can also consider putting in place a post-nuptial agreement. Like a pre-nuptial agreement, this type of agreement can ring-fence assets you’ve built up prior to the marriage, or deal with a change in your financial circumstances following the marriage which you now wish to take into account.
Please get in touch with the Family team if you would like any further information.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.