Prenuptial And Post-Nuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement or ‘pre-nup’ is an agreement entered into by a couple who are planning to marry. It sets out an agreement between the parties as to how their finances will be dealt with in the event of a breakdown of the marriage in the future.
Any couple who are planning to marry can enter into a prenuptial agreement. A common situation in which such an agreement might be desirable is where one party is bringing significantly greater financial assets into the marriage than the other. Pre-nups are also particularly worthy of consideration for couples who are perhaps entering a second marriage, but have children from a first marriage or previous relationship and would therefore wish to protect some assets for the benefit of those children.
A post-nuptial agreement is similar to a pre-nuptial agreement but it is entered into after the marriage has taken place. Sometimes this will be a first agreement or sometimes there will be a post-nuptial agreement to vary the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement, because there has been a change of circumstances for the parties since the pre-nup was entered into, such as the birth of a child.
At the current time, the position is that pre-nuptial agreements are not automatically legally binding upon a divorce. However, the family court has given guidance as to the steps that can be taken, when a pre-nup is entered into, to ensure that there is the best possible chance of this being adhered to should the marriage come to an end. We can advise you as to the relevance of a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement in your particular circumstances and if you should decide that this is right for you, we can guide you through all of the relevant requirements, taking all necessary steps to ensure that there is the best possible chance of your agreement being adhered to in the event of a future divorce.
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We cannot act for both people when dealing with a prenuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement since that would create a conflict of interest. We, therefore, have to act for one of the people entering into the agreement and the other person must get their own independent legal advice or have the opportunity of getting such independent legal advice. We will, of course, liaise with the other party or their solicitor on your behalf to ensure that the matter is dealt with efficiently. In respect of pre-nuptial agreements, it is important that the agreement is prepared and signed by both parties well in advance of any marriage ceremony. This avoids a situation where either party might later try to renege from the agreement on the basis that they were under pressure to sign it due to time constraints. If you are considering a pre-nuptial agreement you should therefore contact us well in advance of your wedding so that we can assist you to get the agreement in place in plenty of time, leaving you to focus on the big day.