Pre-nuptial agreement solicitors

Nothing can ruin romance faster than the words pre-nuptial agreement.  But with about one in three of all first marriages ending in divorce, and approximately 50% of second or third ones failing also, a pre-nuptial agreement is smart financial planning in your relationship.

Who should consider a pre-nuptial agreement?

It is a common myth that a pre-nuptial agreement only applies to wealthy couples.  You should consider a pre-nuptial agreement if:

  • You have assets such as a home, stocks or shares or retirement funds
  • You own all or part of a business
  • You may be receiving an inheritance
  • You have children and/or grandchildren from a previous marriage
  • One of you is much wealthier than the other
  • One of you will be supporting the other through university or college
  • You have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents
  • You have or are pursuing a degree or qualification in a potentially lucrative profession such as medicine
  • You could see a big increase in income because your business is taking off, or that garden shed band you play in has just signed a contract with a big record company

Why should I have a pre-nuptial agreement?

There are many benefits to having a pre-nuptial agreement with your future spouse, including:

  • Protection of ‘family’ property and possessions intended to pass down through generations
  • Protecting the needs of the children
  • Protecting parties of different nationalities who hold assets in another country
  • Helping those that are marrying for the second time
  • Being clear on financial expectations before the wedding

If you are considering suggesting a pre-nuptial agreement to your future spouse, do it as early as possible.  The mention of a pre-nuptial agreement should not come as a surprise if you and your partner have been open with each other as the relationship became serious.  Let your partner know that you believe that such agreements are important and you would like to talk about the subject.

The key ingredients of a solid pre-nuptial agreement are:

Honesty

Both parties must fully disclose their assets.  If it turns out either person has hidden something, the pre-nuptial agreement may well fail the scrutiny of the court.

Signed in advance, you cannot present your intended with a pre-nuptial agreement two days before the wedding and expect them to sign it.  The document should be signed at least twenty-one days before the wedding to avoid the appearance of coercion; another key reason why some agreements are rendered null and void.

Fairness

A valid pre-nuptial agreement should be fair. The court will always perform an independent discretionary review of the arrangements upon divorce, and will seek to ensure fairness and that one spouse will not be left destitute.

Formality

A pre-nuptial agreement scribbled out on the back of an old envelope is unlikely to bind the parties, or pass the scrutiny of the court.

Independent Legal Advice

Beware of websites offering pre-nuptial agreements for a low fee without the need for a solicitor. A key ingredient is that both parties have been fully advised as to the terms and consequences of the pre-nuptial agreement.

Difficult as it may be to talk about money before marriage doing so can save much heartache and aggravation in the long run, minimising the financial and emotional cost of a divorce.  Without an agreement, assets could end up in the hands of your spouse’s children from a previous marriage instead of your own children, or they could go to an idle spouse who did very little while you toiled away at a career or enterprise that eventually became a big success.

If you do not want the court to make final decisions about the distribution of your assets upon divorce, a properly drafted pre-nuptial agreement can help to protect you.

To make your first appointment to discuss drawing up a pre-nuptial agreement, call us on 023 8071 7431, email familyenquiries@warnergoodman.co.uk.

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