The Furley Page Family Law team offer advice on why and how to make pre-nuptial agreements for marrying couples and agreements between non-married couples.
Couples living together without getting married, understand it is important to protect their investments. Non-married couples often enter into an agreement before purchasing a property together to set out what will happen if they split up as couple. Such an agreement can define:
Couples who are getting married are generally more reluctant to contemplate the type of prenuptial agreement mentioned above.
The usual objection is that such an agreement is unromantic, demonstrating a lack of trust in one's spouse or a lack of faith that the marriage will last.
Discussions relating to:
are fundamental to the business of getting married. Sensible people discuss these things in advance and a discussion as to what might happen in the unfortunate event that relationship is not lifelong, does not indicate an intention to split up; any more than buying insurance indicates an intention to have an accident.
Just like insurance, a pre-nuptial agreement could make the process splitting assets less expensive and less complicated if the couple separates.
A major objection to pre-nuptial agreements was that, as a matter of law, they are not enforceable as a contract. This is to say that whatever agreement the parties to a marriage enter into, the agreement can always be set aside by the court on divorce if the agreement is unfair to one party.
Whilst it is still not possible to absolutely guarantee that the Court will uphold a pre-nuptial agreement, the House of Lords have now said that they will be treated in the same way as separation agreements and post-nuptial agreements so that the burden of proof will now be on to the party who says that the agreement should be set aside. If the pre-nuptial agreement is not set aside, the cost saving will be considerable.
In particular, once needs have been met, an agreement between a couple as to what constitutes a fair share of the remaining assets brought into the marriage through gifts or inheritances or generated during the marriage through industry, acumen or good fortune is much more likely to be respected.
For further information about pre-nuptial agreements, contact James Muir-Little on 01227 763939.