Well that is a very good question. Sadly many marriages do end in divorce and separation. Traditionally the Courts would not recognise a pre-nup (as they are known) however, after a landmark case, the courts are more likely to do so.

Furthermore, there is currently new legislation going through the process of becoming law – it’s in the early stages but, if made, could see pre-nups and post-nups (made after marriage) become binding on the parties if they are entered into correctly. There are, of course, advantages in that both couples know what they do with their assets should they find their marriage at an end; it avoids any uncertainty and litigation.

Pre-Marital Agreements

In order for a pre-marital agreement to have any standing in a subsequent divorce it is important that the following guidelines are adhered to:

  1. Each party should have independent legal advice.

  2. Full financial disclosure should take place – this means that each Solicitor should be given the complete picture in respect of your assets, income, and debts, and this information shall subsequently be exchanged between solicitors.

  3. Pre-nuptial agreements should preferably be completed three months before the wedding. The sooner the better, but if there is a whirlwind courtship or the matter is overlooked, it is best to complete a late pre-nuptial agreement than none at all.

  4. No undue influence should be exerted. If one party is pressured into signing then this is a relevant factor which will be taken into account later if the marriage fails.

The pre-nuptial agreement is designed to include an analysis of all the parties’ assets and income, how they are owned and how future ownership is intended. For example:

  1. How the property will be divided.

  2. How bank accounts will be divided.

  3. How shares and other assets of value will be divided.

  4. Which assets are owned jointly, which are owned solely and by whom, and how these assets will be dealt with following the relationship breakdown.

  5. Maintenance – whether one party will pay maintenance to the other and if so, for how much and for how long.

  6. How any children should be provided for

The agreement can contain many provisions to protect both spouses, and of course should be fair and reasonable. They are becoming popular amongst people entering into a second marriage as some spouses wish to ensure their pre-marital assets are preserved without claim from their new spouse for their children of a previous relationship.

If you have any queries regarding pre–marital agreements and wish to discuss the matter further, please contact us on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry through our online contact form.