Spring will see many people’s thoughts turn to organising weddings. Amid the excitement of flowers, menus, honeymoons and dresses, the idea of protecting financial assets may not be at the forefront of a bride and groom’s mind. But ensuring you have your financial affairs taken care of means you will have fewer things to worry about on the big day.
Pre-nuptial agreements seek to clearly regulate a couple’s financial affairs, in the event of a relationship breakdown. They can be used to try to protect wealth or to ring-fence inheritances, businesses, family heirlooms and property from potentially being dragged into divorce proceedings as matrimonial assets.
These agreements are not yet formally binding in England and Wales. However, as long as certain key criteria are met, a pre-nup is likely to be persuasive. It should be:
- Procedurally and substantively fair – it cannot be obviously unfair to your partner and it must cater for the needs of any future children
- Freely entered into and made by deed
- Made at least 28 days before the wedding and preferably far in advance of it
- Both parties must have received, at the time of the making of the agreement, full disclosure about the other party’s financial situation with each party’s assets and income schedules being annexed to the agreement
- Both parties must have received legal advice during the drafting of the agreement, usually with certificates signed by the parties’ respective lawyers being annexed to the agreement
It may be the case that an individual might want to use a pre-nup to protect a specific item of property – perhaps an item that has been passed down through generations. This part of a pre-nup might be upheld by a court as long as the asset in question doesn’t have to be used to meet the other party’s financial needs.
This is a complex area of law so is vital to seek advice from an experienced family lawyer before drafting a pre-nuptial agreement, to get the best chance of it being upheld by the court.
For tailored advice, contact Philippa on: 01792 525409 or email: Philippa.firstname.lastname@example.org