Pre-nuptial agreements – the new norm

The media have been reporting over the weekend about the increase in popularity in pre nuptial agreements. Chris Grayling, the justice secretary has been reported as saying that the idea of the Law Commission’s recommendations in February that pre nups be made legally binding was “sensible”

Whilst some commentators are worried that such agreements may mean that one party may receive less than they would otherwise receive under the provisions of English Law, they provide certainty and security for those entering marriage or a civil partnership. Agreements should contain a review clause and be cross checked against what be construed as fair under English law. In accordance with case law and the Law Commission’s proposals, agreements should contain review clauses and sensible review periods/event would typically include the birth or adoption of any minor dependent child of the family, if either party became seriously ill or incapable of working for a period of time, a certain point in time and such other circumstances as may be negotiated. Pre-nups or indeed post nups (the mirror version post marriage) are a very effective method of preserving family wealth, can assist one party or both parties to ring fence business or trust assets and agreements are often entered into by those marrying or entering civil partnerships for a second or subsequent time. 

The terms of a pre nuptial agreement can be negotiated within the process of family mediation or collaborative law, ideal non litigious forums for ironing out the legal provisions. Certain key principles are important, for example the agreements should be entered into no less then 28 days prior to marriage, each party should provide financial disclosure and have independent legal advice prior to entering into an agreement. It may be said that having an agreement may actually guard against future acrimony on the basis that expectations are set and clear from the outset as to financial provision. 

Specialist advice is needed on the basis is it not the mere presence of an agreement which is important but the key is the terms and whether the legal safeguards are in place. At Consilia Legal we have a wealth of experience in negotiating and drafting pre and post pre nuptial agreements/contracts. For more information and a confidential no obligation chat contact us now on enquiries@consilialegal.co.uk.  

 

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