Getting married is a wonderful, exciting time for couples. In the build-up to getting married and in the midst of arranging their perfect wedding, couples might not pay much attention to what could happen if their relationship doesn’t work out in the long-term.
Given that data from the Office for National Statistics shows almost half (42 per cent) of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce, it is important for couples to prepare for all eventualities.
Many couples preparing for marriage may have accrued significant assets in their own names prior to the relationship or marriage, such as property, business interests, pensions, savings etc. The best way to ensure that each party’s assets are protected in the event of an unfortunate breakdown in the marriage is to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement.
A pre-nuptial agreement or ‘prenup’ as it is often referred to, is a formal document which enables couples to set out exactly, in writing, what will happen to their own assets in the event of a divorce.
In recent years, pre-nuptial agreements have become increasingly common in England and Wales, as divorce rates continue to rise and celebrity splits reveal messy examples of what might happen on divorce.
In England and Wales, the starting position in any divorce is to divide the assets equally between the divorcing couple. However, the reality of many modern relationships is that one partner sometimes will have made a greater financial or asset-based contribution to a relationship than the other.
Persuading the Court to depart from equality can be both difficult and costly, so it is imperative that a party seeking to ring-fence their assets puts early protective measures in place prior to the marriage taking place.
Pre-nuptial agreements must layout “who owns what” from day one, ensuring that each partner knows where they stand from the outset and that the likelihood of uncertainties or arguments arising, later on, is minimised. Various criteria need to be met and the pre-nup must always be fair to both sides given the circumstances of the relationship.
Whether you are getting married for the first time or remarrying in later life, it is important to seek tailored advice from a specialist solicitor to ensure that your assets are protected and your pre-nuptial agreement is water-tight.
To find out more about pre-nuptial agreements, speak to our specialist Family Law Team today; we act for individuals with issues in all aspects of family life, whether you are married, in a civil partnership, or cohabit.
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