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Pre-nuptial Agreements

 

It is not the most romantic topic to discuss when you have just become engaged but you may need to consider whether a Pre-Nuptial agreement is something that you might need to discuss with your fiancé.

It might be a second marriage, or it might be that you have assets that you have accrued before the start of a relationship, or it might be an inheritance that you have received but in the event of a marriage break-down, you may wish to retain those assets.  In these cases, you might want to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement to set out at the outset that those assets would remain yours in event of a breakdown of the relationship.

A pre-nuptial agreement sets out how a couple’s assets will be divided should they separate or divorce. 

Although pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in the UK, they are increasingly being recognised and upheld in the courts provided certain conditions have been met. 

These conditions include entering into the pre-nuptial agreement in plenty of time before the weddings.  If you are forced to sign a pre-nuptial the night before your wedding, it is unlikely that a court would uphold the agreement!

There should also be full and frank financial disclosure so that both parties are aware of the assets which would be retained by either party.

It is important that both parties take independent and separate legal advice about the agreement.  This is particularly important if you are being asked to sign a pre-nuptial agreement as a pre-nuptial agreement can limit a financial settlement that might otherwise have be ordered by a court on a divorce.  You could therefore be agreeing to receive less than you might be entitled to.

The court, on a divorce, will consider all the circumstances surrounding the pre-nuptial agreement and the courts will even reduce an amount one spouse is to receive because of the existence of a pre-nuptial agreement even if the court thinks the pre-nuptial cannot be followed exactly.

It is therefore extremely important that legal advice is sought about a pre-nuptial agreement.  However entering into a pre-nuptial agreement makes it clear what your wishes are and the wishes of your fiancé. We would say it is better to have one than not.

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