Over the last 12 months we have experienced an increasing demand for the preparation of “pre-marital agreements” or “pre-nups” as they are more commonly known. They are beginning to have a place as one of those key documents couples should have to help protect their respective positions in the event of a relationship breakdown. Whilst not the most romantic of documents, they can help to remove, or at least reduce, the areas of disagreement in unhappier times.
Whilst a pre-marital agreement would not necessarily bind a judge and are strictly unenforceable in the courts of England and Wales they have a value in recording the position and intentions of the couple at the beginning of their relationship and seek to impact upon the likely solution for the parties at the end.
When the effectiveness and relevance of the pre-marital agreement is considered the circumstances in which the agreement was reached will be scrutinised and the following will be on the agenda:
- Was the agreement signed at least 21 days prior to the marriage?
- Did both parties provide full and frank financial disclosure of their circumstances to the other?
- Did the couple each take independent legal advice upon the document?
- Was there any duress or pressure upon either of the participants to sign?
If there is any doubt regarding the factors above then there is an increased ability to undermine the agreement reached. It is therefore important to consider the above at all times.
It is much easier and more pleasant to reach an agreement at the beginning of a relationship rather than trying to revisit the past where the landscape is more troubled and where there may be a difference of views or recollection by accident or by design.
A pre-marital agreement helps to clear the mist and ultimately reduce the likelihood of conflict at the end of a relationship. As a result of this they can reduce the financial and emotional cost of separation and divorce down the road.
At QualitySolicitors Dunn & Baker we have an expert team of family lawyers who respond to the growing need for pre-marital agreements. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your particular requirements and kindly contact our family team on 01392 285000 or firstname.lastname@example.org