Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
Increasingly couples are entering into pre-nuptial agreements (prior to marriage) and post-nuptial agreements (during marriage) in an effort to protect their financial position and their assets in the event of a relationship breakdown.
Our clients are both young couples starting out and those couples later in life seeking to reduce the possibility of disagreement and difficulties in the event of their marriage breaking down or, to protect their wealth and assets in the longer term for their children. Those seeking Pre and Post Nuptial agreements have grown in numbers in recent years mostly due to growing awareness and appreciation of financial settlements on divorce cases paired with the greater recognition given to these agreements in recent years by our courts. Our clients come from different backgrounds. They have spouses who have international links and connections, are UK residents who have their permanent home ('domicile') outside the UK, others are high net worth individuals or professionals.
For those clients who require a prenuptial agreement and are a different nationality or live abroad, we can work side by side with our International team who have contacts in other countries to ensure clients receive appropriate advice from relevant foreign lawyers.
With prenuptial agreements it is very important that both parties take independent legal advice, advice from separate solicitors, before an agreement is signed. The agreement should be signed at least three to six weeks before the wedding is to take place.
Within the prenuptial agreement there needs to be a full and frank disclosure of both parties financial assets and there must be considered planning both for existing children of both parties and for any further children the marriage may produce.
Why do I need a Pre or Post Nuptial Agreement?
Anyone who has assets, such as a home, business or investments, can benefit from the protections a well-drafted prenuptial agreement can provide. For high net worth individuals with significant personal assets and business interests or, couples in which there is a great difference in income or assets, prenuptial agreements are a highly sensible option.
Pre-Nups also make particular sense for those entering into second or subsequent marriages who may well desire to protect the inheritance rights for their children from an earlier relationship.
Pre-Nups are not currently considered to be legally binding but when they are freely entered into, and have been clearly drafted, courts are increasingly taking account of them and upholding the provisions they make.