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Prenuptial agreements

Protecting assets with a prenuptial agreement

The current reputation of the discretionary system of separation of assets and income on divorce in England and Wales is that it is amongst the most generous in the world to the spouse who has not created the wealth directly or brought assets into the marriage.

In addition, although the discretionary regime allows each case to be dealt with on its own merits, it is both potentially expensive and does not provide an easily predictable outcome. This is often deeply frustrating to clients who have their own view as to what it is fair to include within that settlement, in particular regarding inherited wealth and assets created before the marriage.

Many clients, including entrepreneurs and businessmen, expect to be able to regulate their private asset ownership in the same way as their business and seek legal advice to do so.

The benefit of a pre-nup

Recent precedents set by some high profile cases – Radmacher vs Granatino and MacCleod vs MacCleod has made it clear that the prenuptial agreement and post-nuptial agreement are now very much encouraged by the Courts, and judges will seek to implement their effect in most cases.

With English judges now heavily influenced by European systems on divorce, which generally give much greater certainty of outcome, any person about to enter into a marriage is advised to enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to that marriage if they want the best certainty of outcome on a subsequent divorce.

We can advise as to how best to affect this in a way which is fair, clear and dignified for both parties. In addition, it is now the case that an agreement made after the marriage (a post-nuptial agreement), provided it is properly entered into, can significantly influence a subsequent divorce settlement.

We can also advise discretely on the resilience and effectiveness of UK and international trust structures and other corporate/property structures to subsequent divorce in England.

Contact our family law team

If you need legal advice on any asset protection matters, contact one of our family law solicitors.

Call us now on 0800 422 0123 or contact us online.