4th September 2019

“I do”…until I don’t!

Despite pre-nuptial agreements still not technically being binding in English law, their popularity continues to rise, which is in part due to today’s fascination with everything “celebrity”, but are they for the rest of us? The answer is yes – sometimes!

Couples for whom they may be helpful, include professional couples without children who choose to lead financially separate lives, older couples contemplating second marriages who wish to ringfence assets for their children and those where the increasingly popular lender “bank of mum and dad” wish to protect their investment.

So, if you think you might benefit from a pre-nup, how can you be sure it will be binding? In short, you can’t, as currently they are not binding, which means that in the event of a divorce, the courts are not bound by the terms of a pre-nup. However, increasingly their terms are respected by divorce courts as long as certain safeguards have been met. These include requirements that the parties have had access to legal advice, fully understand the terms of the agreement and that there has been full financial disclosure.

Whilst most people reading this would probably think this is obvious, all too often these rules are not followed, with financially and emotionally damaging consequences.

As with all things, fairness and timing are crucial. Do not leave this discussion until a few weeks before your wedding, not least because that is bound to be very stressful for you both, but more importantly, to give your agreement the best chance of being upheld, it should be signed at least 28 days before the wedding.

However, it is not the end of world if you miss the deadline, as what is not so commonly known is that you can also have a post-nuptial agreement entered into after the marriage which has similar force to a pre-nup.

Family dynamics are shifting which creates a need for new ways to provide financial security and reassurance. So, don’t dismiss these agreements as “romance killers”, take the time to get proper legal advice to see whether a pre-nup might be right for you.

Buss Murton Law LLP offers a free 30-minute initial family consultation to allow you to meet us and to discuss your options. To make an appointment at our Tunbridge Wells, Cranbrook, East Grinstead or Dartford Office, please contact our team secretary Khaila Reid on T: 01892 502 335 or E: kreid@bussmurton.co.uk and quote ‘Wealden Times’.

This article was first published in the September 2019 edition of the Wealden Times www.wealdentimes.co.uk