Posted by David Cobern on 27th March 2015

Q. What is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

A Pre-Nuptial agreement is a document signed by you and your spouse before your marriage that describes the financial arrangements for you and for your children should you decide to separate in the future.

Q. Isn’t a Pre-Nuptial Agreement just for the very wealthy?

Not in today’s world. More and more couples are considering such agreements, particularly where one partner has wealth they want to protect from future claims should the marriage break down in the early years. Older couples marrying again with their own assets and dependants by previous relationships may want to ensure that they are able to pass on assets and income to their dependants.

Q. Is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement binding on us both?

At the moment, even if a couple have entered into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement the law requires the court to decide or approve how a married couple’s financial settlement should look on divorce. However, if an agreement is in place it will influence the outcome – provided it is reasonably fair to you and your children. In some cases, the court will follow the agreement to the letter. For this to happen, you must both take independent advice. There must have been no pressure applied when the agreement was signed and you should each have been aware of the other’s financial situation at the time.

Q. What is a Qualifying Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

The law is soon likely to change to permit Pre-Nuptial Agreements to be fully enforceable as contracts as long as they have been correctly set up. As before, any agreement must ensure that your and your partner’s financial needs have been met, and your children provided for. Again, the agreement will only be binding if, at the time of signing, you both disclose full information about your financial situation and each receive legal advice.

Q. If we think a pre-nuptial agreement is right for us what should we do?

Act early. A Pre-Nuptial Agreement should be agreed and signed not less than three weeks before the wedding. You should each see separate solicitors for advice about the agreement. Put your financial information together for your solicitor – it will be listed in the agreement. Your partner will need to see this. As family law specialists, The Family Law Company is able to produce a fair agreement that will withstand future scrutiny and the pain and expense of contested court proceedings, with fair provision made for you, your partner and children.

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