Pre-nuptial agreements: How soon should you consider one?

Pre-nups are becoming increasingly popular and relevant in England where the divorce rate exceeds 40%. But how soon should you consider one and what are the risks of leaving it to the last minute?

The Family Team at Geldards is heavily invested in advising our clients on wealth preservation for the next generation.

Wealth preservation inevitably includes, in an appropriate case, consideration of a pre or post-nuptial agreement to protect a client’s wealth in the unfortunate breakdown of their marriage.

In consequence, we are seeing an increasing number of clients approach us for advice in this area.

Although pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in England and Wales, the Court will uphold a pre-nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by both parties with the full appreciation of its implications, unless in the circumstances it would not be fair to uphold the Agreement.

In 2014, the Law Commission published a report which recommended legislative reform and gave guidance as to safeguards necessary to make a pre-nuptial agreement binding.

One of those criteria is that the pre-nuptial agreement must not have been signed within the 28 days before the wedding.

Inevitably, however, we are receiving an increasing number of enquiries from clients a matter of weeks before the wedding! Sometimes they have just left it too late and this means that although we can still go ahead with the pre-nuptial agreement, it is far less likely to be binding. We would therefore be recommending that the clients enter into a post-nuptial agreement following the wedding as well which will inevitably add a significant additional layer of cost.

Our practice at Geldards is to have the pre-nuptial agreement signed at least two months before the wedding so that it is dealt with in a calm and considered fashion. This allows both parties to have the opportunity of obtaining sensitive and constructive advice so that they can then put the pre-nuptial agreement behind them and concentrate on the run up to their wedding.

If you need advice on this area please contact one of our family law solicitors below. It is a highly specialist area which needs specialist legal advice and we’re here to help.

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