It used to be that prenuptial agreements were something only the very wealthy had. Our only exposure to them was the press reporting upon the existence of these mysterious legal documents, when affluent celebrities divorced. However, since the Supreme Court decision in Radmacher v Granatino in 2010, which gave prenuptial agreements a legal standing in England and Wales, and as a result of the general public’s increased awareness of the potential benefits of these agreements, they are no longer something that only the rich obtain before they marry.
Although the divorce rate in England and Wales is reducing, approximately 40% of marriages still end in divorce. In light of this, increasing numbers of people would like to put something in place which would allow them to avoid messy and expensive divorce proceedings if their marriage does end, and also to provide them with financial certainty should this happen.
Many of those considering having a prenuptial agreement have been divorced before and are bringing two families together. They are often keen to preserve their assets, if, sadly, their marriage does not work, for their children, as well as wanting financial certainty.
If there is a prenuptial agreement in place and a couple divorces, the terms of the agreement are a factor which a judge will consider when deciding what is a fair divorce settlement. Whilst the terms of the prenuptial agreement are not automatically followed by a judge, if they meet both spouses’ needs and the agreement has been entered into properly, a judge is likely to order a financial settlement in the same terms as the prenuptial agreement.
For a prenuptial agreement to be entered into properly the following must happen:
- the couple each need to obtain independent legal advice on the agreement
- hey both need to provide details of their assets, liabilities and income, and
- the agreement should be negotiated and signed at least three months prior to the wedding.
This allows the couple to both obtain advice, have plenty of time to consider this advice and therefore make an informed decision about whether they want to sign the agreement.
If you are getting married and think that having a prenuptial agreement may be of benefit to you, you should obtain advice from a specialist family lawyer. Get in touch today. We are here to help you.