Have you signed a pre-nup?
Ann Hallmark, a family law solicitor based at our Ilkley office addresses the issue of pre-nup or post nuptial agreements, for people getting married later in life, or perhaps marrying for a second time, when they are starting their marriages with some pre-acquired wealth, whether that be property, savings or inheritance.
What is a Nuptial Agreement
A nuptial agreement (pre-nup or post-nup) will set out clearly how a couple wish to divide their assets if their relationship ends. Its aim is to provide re-assurance and certainty, for both parties, to enable them to build their relationship feeling reassured from the outset that, should the marriage/civil partnership end, there will be a fair financial settlement that will meet each party’s needs and the needs of any current or future children of the family.
If one or both parties bring assets to the marriage they may wish to ring-fence those assets, taking them out of the ‘matrimonial pot’ and making it clear that they will not form part of any future matrimonial settlement.
A nuptial agreement can be made before or after a marriage or civil partnership and its purpose is to assist a couple planning to marry to engage in constructive discussions to determine the basis of their financial future together.
Fair and freely entered into
The extent to which this can be achieved will depend upon what other assets are accrued by the parties during the marriage/civil partnership, length of the marriage or whether there are dependent children. Fundamentally the agreement must be fair; so thought needs to be given to provision for the financially weaker party and making reasonable provision for them. This may apply particularly if one party puts their career on hold to look after the parties’ children or if one party becomes ill, for example. It is important therefore that the agreement is reviewed periodically to ensure that it remains relevant to the parties’ circumstances.
Such agreements may also be particularly valuable to business owners whose fellow shareholders or partners might be concerned as to how a divorce battle might affect the financial future of the business.
“The court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement.”
Therefore, providing certain criteria are met and, above all, the agreement is fair in the parties’ circumstances, the agreement should be binding.
Ann specialises deals with all aspects of private family law including divorce, matrimonial finances, children matters, co-habitee disputes, pre and post-nuptial agreements, separation agreements etc.
Ann’s niche specialism is in dealing with farming divorces and matrimonial settlements and has regularly been instructed in these matters.