Pre-nuptial Agreements were once seen as the preserve of the Hollywood elite. In fact, it is now becoming more and more common for couples to enter in to an agreement before being married. It is often a prudent step, especially in cases where each party brings assets to the marriage.
A Pre-nuptial Agreement is an agreement entered into by a couple before they are married which usually sets out how their assets are to be divided should the marriage breakdown and how other claims that can be made on divorce such as spousal maintenance, are to be dealt with.
A Post-nuptial Agreement is the same as a Pre-nuptial Agreement but is entered into after marriage. The same law applies to both types of Agreement.
Pre/Post-nuptial agreements are not strictly binding in England and Wales. However, following recent case law and a law commission report, courts do now carefully consider the terms of the Agreement and the circumstances in which they were made when a financial claim is made.
This means that a court will uphold a Pre/Post-nuptial agreement provided it has been freely entered into, with both parties having full appreciation of its implications, unless it would be unfair to do so. If the following criteria is met, both parties should expect to be held to the terms of an agreement:
1. Each party must fully disclose to the other their financial circumstances;
2. Each party should have independent legal advice to ensure that they have a full appreciation of the implications of the agreement;
3. The agreement should not prejudice the reasonable requirements of any children of the family;
4. The agreement should be fair (i.e. if the effect of the agreement would be to leave one party with less than their needs but the other comfortably provided for, it would probably be considered unfair); and
5. The Pre-nuptial agreement should be entered in to at least 28 days before getting married.
We understand that splitting up is not something any couple wants to think about. However, discussing and planning what would happen will give you peace of mind that, if things were to go wrong, you will minimise the stress, time and expense of resolving financial issues.
To arrange a free no obligation initial consultation please call Matthew Sterling on 01539 720049 or complete the form below.