Could a pre-nuptial agreement be the answer for your marriage?
As we move closer towards Spring, thoughts turn more to wedding season and if you are tying the knot this year it is likely you have spent time carefully planning everything from the bouquets to the table centres. Most couples don’t take the time however to consider how a pre-nuptial agreement could also help their future. While most people think that a pre-nuptial agreement is to plan for when things go wrong, Sam Miles, Family Partner, explains here how it could be the perfect way to start your marriage on the right foot.
What is a pre-nuptial agreement?
A pre-nuptial agreement is a legal agreement designed to make things easier to manage if the marriage breaks down. It can:
- Protect any pre-existing fortune from being split
- Protect a spouse from their partner’s debt through the use of a ‘debt clause’
- Provide for children from a previous relationship
- Keep property within the family
A pre-nuptial agreement is enforceable in the UK, although judges still have the discretion to overrule it, especially if it is considered to be unfair to any children of the marriage.
How could a pre-nuptial agreement support your marriage?
Research has shown that money is the leading cause of stress in relationships, that can occasionally lead to breaking point. “Having a pre-nuptial agreement will mean that you have both been clear in your financial intentions from the start,” explains Sam. “You will already have agreed on many financial issues such as inheritance, school fees, property, business assets etc, and this can go a long way to preventing arguments in the future that could result in divorce.”
It is a common misconception that the only people who need pre-nuptial agreements are celebrities or millionaires. “The importance of a pre-nuptial agreement lies in not only agreeing on your current financial situation, but also for the future,” continues Sam. “A pre-nuptial agreement can bring great peace of mind that your assets are protected in the future in a variety of different situations. You may have built up a business that you do not want to sell if you have to divorce. If you inherit money or property you may wish to keep it in the family if you decide to divorce. These are just a couple of examples of the many ways a pre-nuptial agreement can help.”
Do I need legal advice to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement?
If you do wish to draw up a pre-nuptial agreement, in order to comply with the law it must be drawn up and signed by a qualified solicitor. “Every couple and their situation will be different, and so every pre-nuptial agreement will be different,” explains Sam. “Using an experienced solicitor is vital in these circumstances, as they will be able to advise on what is included in your agreement to suit you.”
There are several factors that must be considered before entering into a pre-nuptial agreement:
- You and your partner will need to use separate solicitors
- The pre-nuptial agreement should be signed at least 21 days before the marriage
- All assets and property must be fully disclosed
- Both parties will need to confirm that they voluntarily agree to it.
Sam concludes, “If you are concerned about being tied into a pre-nuptial agreement, they can be changed at any time as long as both parties agree. If you are already married and wish to find out more about the protection a pre-nuptial agreement offers, you could consider a post-nuptial agreement. No-one likes to consider that their marriage will fail in the future, but when it comes to protecting your assets there is no other document that has the same effect as a pre-nuptial agreement, and you could find it starts your marriage off on the right note.”
To find out more information about a pre-nuptial agreement, contact Sam or the Family team on 02380 717431 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interepreted as, legal advice.