Love is in the air: why summer sparks conversations about pre-nuptial agreements

Spring and summer are busy months for those getting married or forming a civil partnership and love is in the air. Many of those marriages or civil partnerships will be second, third or perhaps fourth time around. Some will involve parties where one or both already have children from previous relationships and/or have established themselves financially.

The most recent statistics indicate that almost 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce. How many of those marrying this year will ensure a pre-marital agreement (a “pre-nup”) is put in place to endeavour to protect assets in the event of a divorce? The answer is probably “not enough”.

Many people want to try and sort finances out fairly as a couple even when the relationship breaks down. There can be many elements involved such as pre-acquired property owned in one name, a business you have poured blood, sweat and tears into, inheritance prospects and children from previous relationships you want to ensure you can continue to provide for, and many more. Getting married or entering a civil partnership brings many financial duties to one another, often more than people realise.

The family court can make orders on divorce or civil partnership dissolution that share all of these assets, regardless of where they came from. This is why legal advice about realistic outcomes if things go wrong and the benefits of agreeing to these legal documents with the help of a specialist family lawyer entered into before you say “I do” can be absolutely priceless.

Whilst currently, a pre-nuptial agreement alone is not binding in court upon divorce, it is likely to be persuasive if prepared properly with both parties exchanging financial disclosure, receiving independent legal advice, and if drafted in a way that is likely to be construed as fair.

No one wants to take away the fun and the romance of getting engaged and married/civil partnered but equally, no one wants the distress, delay and expense of a dispute in court should the very worst happen down the line during divorce proceedings. We at Geldards LLP would far rather you never needed to rely on a pre-marital agreement we help you draw up, but to feel confident that it is there should you need to.

A well-drafted pre-marital agreement (and even a post-marital agreement, done after the big day) can be vital if things go wrong. Whilst it isn’t romantic and has cost implications, would you prefer to spend a modest sum on legal advice now to protect your future interests or many 10s of thousands of pounds later when you don’t?

The Courts in England and Wales frequently make orders that reflect the terms of good quality, properly prepared pre-marital (or post-marital) agreements.

If you are planning a wedding (or have recently married) then please speak to one of our specialist family lawyers as soon as possible to arrange an appointment to discuss whether a pre-nuptial agreement (or post-nuptial agreement) would be advisable in your circumstances.

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