Prenuptial Agreements are prepared prior to a marriage or civil partnership to set out what should happen to a couple’s assets and income in the event that the relationship breaks down. This can be a very practical solution to avoid what is often a very stressful and costly period following a separation.
Upon separation, spouses and civil partners have claims against each other in terms of income, capital and pensions. The Prenuptial Agreement allows you to regulate those claims and can specify what is to happen to assets, future earnings, how property is to be divided up and what level of financial provision is suitable in the event that the marriage does not survive. It is possible to record the couple’s earning capacities and expectations. If there is an intention for one spouse to cease working in order to bring up the children then this can also be set out within the Prenuptial Agreement.
Prenuptial Agreements can also often protect assets that you are bringing into the marriage against a claim from your spouse. Without a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement in place, in the event that you cannot agree on a financial division with your spouse, the Court has a wide discretion as to what is fair in the circumstances of your case, with the start point being a 50/50 division.
Although Prenuptial Agreements are not legally binding in this Country and the Court retains ultimate discretion to deal with the couple’s assets as it feels fit, if the Agreement has been prepared properly, it is likely to carry great weight and be given proper consideration by the Court. It is therefore important that you obtain legal advice in relation to the preparation of the Prenuptial Agreement. This will ensure that it meets the various procedural requirements to try and make it as enforceable as possible. The Prenuptial Agreement will have to stand a fairness test, and it is important that the Agreement is reviewed and kept up to date to deal with any changes in circumstances.
If you are already married or in a civil partnership then a Postnuptial Agreement can also be prepared to deal with the same issues.
At Cartwright King we have seen a rise in the preparation of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements. Our family law solicitors are experts in advising and preparing Pre and Postnuptial Agreements. Every person’s situation is different and needs to be fully and carefully considered so please contact us to discuss your requirements further.
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