Pre-nuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous! An increasing number of couples are deciding to enter into ‘pre-nups’ before their big day. What are they? A pre-nuptial agreement is a formal agreement entered into by a couple preparing for their wedding. The agreement sets out the assets owned by each party prior to the marriage and records how those assets are to be divided between the parties in the event of a divorce. How can they help parties? Where parties have considerable inherited wealth or substantial assets acquired independently before their relationships, pre-nuptial agreements can help to ring-fence these items and protect them in the case of a divorce. By entering into a pre-nuptial agreement, parties can discuss their finances freely with each other at the outset, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement about how those assets should be treated in the event of a divorce. This could have the effect of avoiding contested court proceedings later on, which can be lengthy and stressful, not to mention expensive! Are they legally binding? Pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in England and Wales, in the sense that a Judge can overrule the agreement in court proceedings. However, Judges will consider pre-nuptial agreements carefully when deciding how to treat the marital assets in a divorce and tend to view agreements as a good indication of the parties’ intentions when they were preparing for marriage. Therefore, Judges will require much persuasion if one party to the agreement feels that it should no longer be upheld! Indeed, in the recent landmark case of Radmacher v Granatino, handed down by the Supreme Court, it was held that the Court will attach considerable weight to the agreement, which will be binding on the parties unless:
How can you ensure that pre-nuptial agreements will be upheld by a court?
At stevensdrake, our Family team has expertise in both drafting and advising on pre-nuptial agreements. Clients can then enter into an agreement with the peace of mind in knowing that the agreement is not only fair, but will give them the financial protection they desire! For more information on this article, or to make an appointment regarding a pre-nuptial agreement, please contact Peter Alison on 01293 596935.This article is provided for general information only. Please do not make any decision on the basis of this article alone without taking specific advice from us. stevensdrake will only be responsible for the advice we give which is specific to you.