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The Importance of Prenuptial Agreements

Due to the pandemic, a number of weddings have been cancelled and rearranged. However, as restrictions are now easing and more weddings are being able to go ahead, it is important to consider your financial matters too.

It is very important that both parties have independent legal advice in respect of an agreement reached. Further, we would always recommend that any Pre-Nupital Agreement is prepared and signed well in advance of the wedding to avoid any accusations of Duress. This should be at least 28 days before the wedding.

What is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is very common in America, however over the years more couples are entering into them within this country. A Pre-Nuptial agreement is not legally binding in England and Wales, however if drafted appropriately, with the correct and relevant clauses in, the Court do give consideration of any agreement in line with the circumstances if an application is ever issued. This is following the Supreme Court decision in Radmacher v Granatino [2010] UKSC 42 in October 2010.

Advantages in having a Pre-Nuptial Agreement

There are a number of advantages in having a Pre-Nuptial agreement, such as:

1. Clarity.

You can make it clear to one another that certain property belongs to you alone and will not be shared during the marriage or on any future divorce. Such property is often referred to by family lawyers as “non-matrimonial property”. The definition of non-matrimonial property is unclear in case law, but can be clearly defined in the pre-nuptial agreement so that you are aware of the extent of each other’s non-matrimonial property and the value of any property you are giving up the rights to share.

2. Certainty.

You can agree at the outset of your marriage how your finances will be divided if you later separate or divorce. This should save you both the uncertainty, time and stress of litigating about your finances if you do later separate or divorce. You may have a creative plan for dividing your assets if you divorce and a pre-nuptial agreement provides you with the freedom to agree your own terms without the court imposing a solution on you.

3. Transparency.

You should provide financial disclosure of your assets and income in the pre-nuptial agreement, so you will both know at the outset of the marriage the value of each other’s assets, which will assist you in your negotiations.

4. Protection.

You can protect assets you may wish to “ring-fence” from one another, such as inherited assets, family heirlooms, an interest in a family business, gifts received from a third party, or property acquired before the marriage. If the pre-nuptial agreement ring-fences such property, the court is less likely to award a share of that property to the other party on any future divorce. Equally, it can do the same for debts. If your partner has significant debts, either now or in the future, the pre-nuptial agreement can be used to protect your assets from being used to satisfy those debts.

Speak to our team of Family Law Solicitors

While you will both incur legal fees for preparing and advising on the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement, it is usually much less expensive to negotiate and draft a pre-nuptial agreement than to litigate about the division of your finances should you later separate or divorce. The benefits of protecting assets cannot be outweighed. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Family Law team further on 0191 691 3418 or family@browells.co.uk

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