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Pre-Nups - A Delicate Balance

Author: Julie Watts

Pre-Nuptial Agreements aren’t just for the rich and famous. For many years now they have become more and more popular with couples from all backgrounds, particularly couples entering into a second marriage or those with inherited assets. However until now the status in divorce law in England and Wales of such agreements has been unclear.

In February, the Law Commission produced a report which is being hailed as a ‘big step forward’. The report proposes that the law should be changed to make pre-nuptial agreements legally binding and enforceable on divorce providing that the following criteria are all met when the agreement is entered into:-

  • The Agreement must be signed by the couple at least 28 days before the wedding ceremony.
  • Both parties must have obtained separate legal advice and have made full financial disclosure of their circumstances to each other.
  • There must have been no undue influence, fraud or misrepresentation by either party.
  • The agreement provides for the financial needs of the parties and the children.

For the first time couples will be able to agree in advance what will happen to their assets if sadly, their marriage or civil partnership breaks down.

To agree and formulise all elements of a pre-nuptial agreement can take time so we always recommend couples start the process of having one drawn up at least 3 months before the ceremony.