Pre-nuptial Agreements – Not just for the Royals!Pepperells
It is sometimes thought that Pre-nuptial Agreements are only for the wealthy. This is certainly not the case.
At the same time it is also thought that Pre-nuptial Agreements allow one spouse to keep everything they have got and prevent the spouse with little or nothing, at the time of marriage, to receive nothing if ever there is unfortunately a subsequent divorce. This is also not the case.
The Courts expect that Pre-nuptial Agreements will be fair to both parties. The Courts will always have regard to the length of the marriage, the lifestyle of the parties, children and other relevant factors.
Courts however treat assets that have been accrued during the marriage differently from those that existed either before the marriage or were received during the marriage by way of bequest as opposed to being created by one or other of the spouses.
The starting point for the division of matrimonial assets is that they will be divided equally but in relation to non-matrimonial assets they will generally be looked at only if the division of the matrimonial assets does not satisfy housing and maintenance needs of the recipient party.
It is very common to find that Pre-nuptial Agreements are designed to have a life of about 5 years so that the parties can look at their circumstances again in 5 years’ time and then revisit the original agreement and perhaps make a new Post-nuptial Agreement. It has been said that Post-nuptial Agreements are stronger than Pre-nuptial Agreements.
The advantages of Pre-nuptial Agreements is that they can protect separate property, define what property is considered to be marital or not, they can reduce conflicts and save money if there is a subsequent divorce and can set out what agreements both of you have regarding what should happen if the divorce occurs. It can also establish how any subsequent dispute could be settled i.e. it could provide that the parties would go to Arbitration rather than through the Courts.
It is also being said that because Pre-nuptial Agreements require both parties to be open and honest about their assets and what they see is to happen in the future if separation occurs in fact improves the quality of the relationship talking about money and property can eliminate misunderstandings that might otherwise crop up. Of course there are disadvantages. It can hardly be said to be romantic discussing a Pre-nuptial Agreement with or without Lawyers.
There are potentially legal costs involved and each party has to have their own Solicitor advising.
From a Lawyers point of view however one of the strengths of a Pre-nuptial Agreement is that it requires full and frank disclosure on both parties behalf. This means listing the assets that exist at the time of the marriage and putting a value on those assets.
If there is a subsequent divorce this can save substantial legal costs that would otherwise accrue as a result of arguing about the value of the asset at the time of the marriage and what existed at the same date.
In passing it is perhaps worth mentioning that were a couple are living together but not married then there are no automatic financial claims that exist between them and having a Cohabitation Agreement can make financial provision which otherwise might not be available. For a no obligation conversation with Pepperells on your needs get in touch.