Pre-nuptial agreements may not be one of the most romantic topics of conversation for couples planning a wedding but recent research has found that more than 40% of single men and women think a pre-nup is a good idea. Couples now look on them as a practical step before entering into marriage.
What are the benefits of a pre-nup?
It could make your marriage stronger
A pre-nup gives couples an opportunity to look objectively at their personal, financial and business interests at the start of a relationship. Having an open and honest discussion at the outset avoids arguments further down the line and manages expectations. In this respect, a pre-nup can actually strengthen a marriage.
It avoids conflict later on
A pre-nup doesn’t mean couples are anticipating the failure of their marriage. Just as they might be looking at home insurance – and possibly wedding insurance – a pre-nup is a safeguard that could make things easier and cheaper if the marriage does break down. Decisions can be made with a cool head at this stage, whereas once problems develop in a marriage, negotiation can become difficult and resolution can be time consuming and costly.
It could protect your wealth
Pre-nups are popular with couples who have already accrued property, wealth or business interests. A pre-nup can set out how all the assets would be divided if the marriage were to break down and can help to protect against future claims. Those with business interests approach pre-nups from the perspective of controlling risk and minimising the damaging effect that disputes could have on the business.
How to draft a pre-nup
We’ll arrange an initial meeting to discuss your personal situation, the issues affecting you and your partner and how marriage will impact on ownership of assets. There are a number of pitfalls to avoid when drawing up a pre-nuptial agreement and we’ll outline these so that you take all the right steps to make sure your document has the best chance of standing up in court. This is one reason why DIY pre-nups and online forms should be avoided. Attempting to draw up a pre-nup without specialist advice from a family lawyer could put your assets and future earnings at risk.
Ideally the pre-nup should be dealt with well before your marriage so that you can agree it, sign it, put it away and get on with enjoying the build up to your big day. Both parties should have independent legal advice and neither should feel under pressure to sign.
Pre-nups are particularly useful for anyone who has been married before and in such cases they can be used to safeguard assets that have been built up for existing children’s inheritances. They are also often used when one party has already inherited wealth from family.
Even when both parties see the benefit of a pre-nup, the negotiations still need to be handled sensitively. We recognise this and, because we have plenty of experience in this area, we’ll make sure you feel comfortable with everything before signing.
Andrew Meehan is individually recommended for family law by both Chambers UK and the Legal 500. He is also a Resolution accredited specialist solicitor for divorce cases involving complex financial and property matters.
This article has been prepared with the aim of providing general information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While we aim to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. In addition, everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Harrogate Family Law accepts no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of any part of our website, except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.