Coodes family specialist Karen Pritchard looks at the importance of pre and post nuptial agreements.
Even David Cameron has given his support to ‘Marriage Week’, which runs from 7th to 14th February. But while the focus of the week may be on celebrating commitment, the reality is that 42% of UK marriages end in divorce. More people are entering second marriages, often bringing existing children as well as their own property and finances and want to make sure they are protected for the future.
There is a growing need and acceptance of prenuptial agreements (prenups) as a sensible, if not very romantic, part of wedding planning.
Unlike in the US where they are much more commonplace, prenups are not formally legally binding in this country. In fact, before 2010 when the supreme court made a landmark ruling in the case of German heiress Katrin Radmacher and her ex-husband Nicolas Granatino, prenups were not worth the paper they were written on. Since that high profile case there have been many more instances of prenups being recognised by the divorce courts.
At Coodes we have seen more clients enquiring about prenups. Although they can be overriden, if properly prepared they can be upheld by Courts if a relationship breaks down and so should be considered as a sensible step for couples.
We are waiting for the outcome of the Law Commission’s recommendation that prenups become legally enforceable in the UK. Until then, we would advise any couples entering marriage to consider drawing up prenups. For individuals with significant assets in the form of finances, property or a family business, they are particularly important.
If you are already married, it’s not too late to protect yourself. Far less well known, Postnups work in exactly the same way as prenups, but can be drawn up at any point during a marriage.
So if you say ‘yes’ in Marriage Week take a moment to think about what you have that you want to protect, or how you might want to arrange your finances in the future. Before you call the church or the registry office, ring a family lawyer and check out your position.
Karen Pritchard can be contacted on 01872 246200 or email email@example.com.