Are nuptial agreements a good idea for a Christmas engagement?
The festive season offers a beautiful backdrop for a romantic engagement. However, for business owners and those with significant assets, it may be wise to consider the inclusion of a pre or post-nuptial agreement before proposing.
These agreements are not exclusive to the wealthy and can provide peace of mind, particularly for individuals seeking to safeguard their assets. As you consider taking the next step and potentially proposing this Christmas, it is worthwhile to have a thoughtful conversation about protecting your shared future.
A post – nuptial agreement is an agreement entered into after marriage – as opposed to a pre-nuptial agreement entered into before marriage
Prenuptial agreements can provide greater certainty of financial outcomes, should your marriage end in divorce. Therefore, if you are about to get married it would be wise to enter into a prenuptial agreement beforehand.
However, some couples choose to enter into a post-nuptial agreement, to strengthen their relationship or after they have been apart for a while. Sometimes, a post-nuptial agreement is a revised version of a pre-nuptial agreement that was made before the marriage, to avoid the impression that it was forced or rushed.
Do nuptial agreements hold up in court?
Nuptial agreements in England and Wales are not inherently binding on the court; however, when executed properly and meeting specific criteria, they are likely to be upheld unless they are deemed ‘unfair’.
The likelihood of deeming them ‘unfair’ diminishes if they are recent, involve full financial disclosure between the parties, include independent legal advice, no changes in circumstances have occurred since the agreement, and both parties comprehend the nature and impact without any duress.
Chris continued: “For many couples it is sensible to review or include a revision clause in the agreement if an event happens (a trigger event defined in the agreement) which may change the underlying financial positions, their financial needs and whether the agreement now still remains to be regarded as ‘fair’, such as the birth of a child or serious health issues.
“It may also be the case that an annual review is to take place to ensure that there are no such changes periodically. What may be regarded as ‘fair’ at the outset may not be the case in future years if there is a change of circumstances. If deemed to be unfair, the court may not uphold part, or all, of the agreement.
A correctly prepared and regularly checked nuptial agreement can therefore provide certainty and help to strengthen a marriage. Both parties will have agreed what represents a fair outcome should the marriage end and in doing so, assets can be ring-fenced and protected in the agreement so long as the outcome remains deemed as fair”.
Chris Longbottom heads the family law team at Clarke Willmott, regularly dealing with the issues that arise for an individual following the breakdown of a relationship. Chris specialises in complex financial cases and private law children matters. To get in touch with Chris, please request a consultation.