Posted by Lucy Theobald on 26th February 2024
Leap year proposals and prenups

In 2024, the tradition of leap year engagements will once again capture the hearts of many, as it offers a unique twist on the customary proposal narrative. This quaint tradition, deeply rooted in history, supposedly sees women take the lead in proposing marriage to their partners on February 29th, a day that graces our calendars only once every four years.

With March 2024 perhaps set to witness a charming surge in proposals it’s an opportune moment to consider the practical aspects of marriage, such as prenuptial agreements. Whilst not the most romantic these agreements serve as a thoughtful foundation for a secure partnership, allowing couples to outline the management and division of their financial assets should their paths diverge in the future.

When preparing a pre-nuptial agreement, it’s critical to understand that every couple’s financial situation is distinct, negating a ‘one size fits all’ solution. A productive starting point is to catalogue the assets owned individually or jointly. This inventory serves as a foundation to deliberate over the fate of these assets should the relationship dissolve. The discussion should cover whether assets will be divided, allowing each party a share, or retained in full by the owner.

Assets to consider in a Prenup include:

  • Property, whether solely or jointly owned
  • Savings in bank accounts
  • Premium bonds
  • Inheritance
  • Stocks and shares
  • Pension funds
  • Debts and liabilities
  • Income

Business interests

Deciding on asset division within a prenuptial agreement is particularly crucial for significant assets such as businesses or property portfolios. The agreement must strike a balance, ensuring fairness and meeting the needs of both parties. An overly skewed division may lead to the agreement being overlooked or modified by the courts.

Prenups and Children

It’s imperative for a prenup to address the financial necessities of any children in the family. Should the prenup fail to adequately provide for a child under your care, the Court may not enforce the agreement, opting instead to determine the asset distribution. A well-crafted prenup anticipates events like the birth of a child, allowing for adjustments to maintain its relevance and enforceability over time.

Independent Legal Advice

Entering into a prenup must be a decision made freely and with full understanding by both parties. It’s advisable for each individual to seek advice from separate specialist lawyers. The agreement should be signed at least 21 days before the wedding, necessitating consultations with solicitors well in advance.

With the prenuptial agreement finalised, couples can look forward to their marriage with the peace of mind that, should unforeseen circumstances arise, they have a plan in place. Although the hope is that the prenup will remain a precautionary measure, having a personal copy, as well as one kept by your lawyer, is prudent.

Need some advice? Get in touch today

Lucy Theobald is a Solicitor at The Family Law Company. She brings 20 years of experience in family law, now specialising in Divorce and Finance, Private Law Children and Domestic Abuse. She was previously President of the Cornwall Law Society and has been named in the top 50 Most Inspirational Women in Cornwall.

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