We handle enquiries on a regular basis from people getting married looking for advice on whether or not they should consider prenuptial agreements. We have a specialised team of solicitors based in South Wales who are happy to provide all the advice and assistance you need.
In the past these have been seen as a preserve of the rich. It is true that asset protection of a wealthy person is a common reason for this type of agreement, however, the protection works equally well for people in all income brackets.
The primary reason for these agreements is to protect assets belonging to one of the parties prior to the marriage. Large numbers of people marry a second and third time. People who are entering into second/third marriages are very keen on protecting assets they acquired prior to the marriage. People who inherit their deceased parent’s property are also anxious that inherited property is not brought into the matrimonial pot.
Prenuptial agreements can be used to protect children from previous relationships – the agreement can be used to guarantee certain property or assets will still go to the intended heirs and are not caught up in the division of marital property.
Protection from Accrued DebtsNot everyone getting married has large assets. In fact, many people choose to get married despite the fact one party in the relationship has an unreliable finance history. In this situation prenuptial agreements can protect the other party in the relationship from previously accrued debts.
Child custody or contact arrangements cannot be included in this type of agreement.
Many Clients ask us if their agreements are legally binding at the present time. They are not – despite the headlines. In the fairly recent case of Radmacher –v- Granatino, it was clear the Supreme Court was in no doubt you cannot oust the jurisdiction of the Court.
However, the Supreme Court has helpfully set out when an agreement would not be held binding:
- Where there is a child of the family, whether or not that child was alive, or a child of the family at the time the agreement was made
- Where one or both of the parties did not receive independent legal advice before entering into the agreement
- Where the Court considers the enforcement of the agreement would cause significant injustice to one or both of the parties or to a child of the family
- Where one or both of the parties have failed to give full disclosure of assets and property before the agreement was reached
- Where under the general law of contact the agreement is enforceable, including if the agreement attempted to lay an obligation on a third party who had not agreed in advance
- Where an agreement is made fewer than 21days prior to the marriage (this would prevent an anti-nuptial agreement (an agreement made prior the marriage) being forced on a party shortly before their wedding day (i.e. they may feel unable to resist the pressure to sign the agreement)
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