Pre and post nups. The end of romance or a touch of realism?
For some reason, the end of this summer has brought about a dramatic upturn in instructions for pre- and post-nuptial agreements.
Whether it’s as a result of the dismal weather, the end of the wedding season or a spate of romantic engagements in the soaps, I can’t say. Who am I, a mere family and matrimonial solicitor, to explain the sudden upsurge?
What I can say with certainty is that a pre-nuptial agreement is a document encapsulating a set of agreements that an engaged couple freely enter into prior to marriage. Somewhat unromantically, it sets out the financial arrangements and material consequences should the marriage subsequently break down. The house … the cars … the possessions … the joint assets, etc.
It is usually used as a way to protect one party’s assets if they are bringing more into the marriage financially than the other. Pre-nuptial agreements are not yet legally binding in England and Wales but are considered by the Court when deciding how the assets should be divided between the parties if the marriage breaks down. The Court will still consider various other factors when determining the outcome of the financial matters but the pre-nup will give the appropriate weight and inform a final agreement.
A post-nuptial agreement is similar in concept but is entered into by couple who are already married.
The Court will ultimately uphold pre- and post-nuptial agreements, provided they were freely entered into by both parties, and that they understood the agreement and its implications fully at the time. This relies on the presumption that, at the time it was entered in to, the agreement was considered fair by both sides.
As we all know romantic relationships are born from layers of emotions, ambitions and expectations that aren’t always fulfilled as hoped. Such agreements acknowledge the possibility, however unwelcome, that things might not work out as planned.
If the marriage succeeds, wonderful!
If not, the long-term price for making a well-intentioned mistake can, at the very least, be limited.
For more information on pre and post nuptial agreements, please contact me: Kirsten Grotte, for a free initial consultation either at the Wilmslow or Alderley Edge office on 01625 531 676.