Properly prepared nuptial agreements can add clout to court decisions

Deborah Marsh Deborah Marsh 27 September 2021

Prenuptial and post nuptial agreements are entered into by couples to set out what will happen financially if they separate. 

This complex area of law can cover equity in your home; assets and pensions you are bringing into the marriage or civil partnership; protecting future assets such an inheritance; trusts; business assets and the future of the family home. 

The enforceability of nuptial agreements is commonly misunderstood with a recent online survey for Wake Smith Solicitors highlighting this.

When asked if a pre or post nuptial agreement was binding in court on divorce/dissolution, 53 per cent of respondents said yes, if legally advised, 33 per cent thought the court may consider it, seven per cent said no and seven per cent didn’t know.

Wake Smith’s family and collaborative lawyer Deborah Marsh discusses the benefit of having a properly prepared nuptial agreement.

Deborah said: “Whilst nuptial agreements are not currently binding on the court when spouses and civil partners separate, they can, if properly prepared, be persuasive providing certain safeguards are met.

“These include full and frank disclosure, no duress (so for example, both must have plenty of time to consider the agreement) and each must have separate legal advice and fully understand the terms of the agreement.

“Most importantly, the nuptial agreement must make reasonable, and fair, financial provision for both parties and any children and, be regularly reviewed to ensure the continued fairness of the agreement.

“If not, the court will have little, if no, regard to the agreement at all, and a judge can make financial provision different to that contained in the agreement.

“Nuptial agreements are not fail safe, but they are a far better option than having nothing in place at all.

“They can help prevent extremely costly court proceedings on divorce/dissolution providing they are properly prepared and each have received legal advice.”

Please see our Financial Provision/Support page on our website www.wake-smith.co.uk for detail on the financial claims that spouses and civil partner can make against each other on separation and so what protection you can seek in a pre or post nuptial agreement.

To discuss nuptial agreements in more detail please contact our family solicitors Lindsey Canning and Deborah Marsh at Wake Smith Solicitors on 0114 266 6660.

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