The Rise of Prenuptial Agreements

A Prenuptial Agreement is an agreement signed by a couple prior to their marriage or civil partnership.

The main purpose is to regulate how assets will be divided in the event of a subsequent divorce or dissolution of civil partnership.  Very often parties have assets they have acquired prior to the marriage and the deed can specify what happens to those assets.

Although some wealthy people have an agreement to protect their assets from a ‘gold digging’ partner they are not just the preserve of the very wealthy.

It is always a good idea to have an agreement if say one party is bringing significant assets into the relationship.  Also, with the advent of step families some spouses wish to ensure that their children get specific assets.

If there is a subsequent divorce or dissolution of civil partnership the Court can take the existence of an agreement into account when dealing with financial settlements.

In considering whether an agreement is fair the Court could consider such things as whether both parties understood what they were signing, did they have independent legal advice? Did they have time to consider what they were signing and did they have time to negotiate terms rather than having the deed imposed upon them?

A recent survey found that one in ten couples wished they had signed a Prenuptial Agreement.

According to the Office for National Statistics 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce with 34% of marriages expecting to end in divorce by the 20th wedding anniversary.


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