Did you pop the question over the festive period? Is a prenup on your planning list?

Solicitors Joe Colley and Natasha Methven share their thoughts on the importance of a Prenup and why it should be included as an integral part of ‘wedmin’.

January can be an exciting time for couples who became engaged over the festive season. Loved-up couples can endure the dark winter months by focusing on the preparations for their wedding, with excitement levels increasing as they do. As well as choosing what to wear, which cake to pick and where to get married, couples are best advised to consider a prenup.

Traditionally, prenups had a reputation for being unromantic and only for the super-wealthy. This has now changed however, and prenups should be viewed in the same way as making a will or taking financial advice.  They represent prudent long-term planning. Prenups offer financial security and peace of mind for those entering marriage, signed in contemplation of a long, happy future together.

Prenups can incorporate a variety of agreements, to include what should happen to the family finances in the event of separation and/or divorce.  These helpful documents can regulate, for example:

  • the protection of pre-marital assets (assets brought into the marriage);
  • the determination of marital assets and how they should be divided;
  • the exclusion of an expected inheritance;
  • ownership of business assets, income and liabilities;
  • how debts should be treated and who should pay for them; and
  • the ring-fencing of assets for children from a previous relationship.

The legal status of prenups makes them complex.  In summary, for a prenup to be given due consideration by the court it must be:

  • entered into freely without duress or misrepresentation;
  • signed on the dotted line by way of a deed and include a statement of truth;
  • made in advance of your wedding, ideally at least 28 days before;
  • signed following the exchange of financial disclosure and receipt of independent legal advice; and
  • actively careful not to prejudice the welfare of any minor child of the marriage (who will be a paramount consideration for the court).

The Law Commission published a report in 2014 recommending that qualifying nuptial agreements (QNAs) be introduced in England and Wales. These would be enforceable contracts, enabling couples to make binding arrangements governing the financial consequences of divorce.  As it stands, the Government’s final response is still awaited. In the meantime, we at LMP see an increasing rise in couples opting for a prenup, and sensibly so.

It is essential to take legal advice in this complicated area that is by no means as straightforward as choosing your cake! The team at LMP are family law specialists who can provide you with sensitive support and guidance in the lead up to your big day.

Should you have any enquiries about prenups or if you would like to organise this element of your ‘wedmin’, please contact any member of the LMP team.

LMP supports Family Mediation Week

Organised by the Family Mediation Council (FMC), Family Mediation Week (17 – 21 January 2022) is an opportunity to raise awareness of family mediation and its benefits to separating families.

The team at LMP is in full support of Family Mediation Week and applauds the goal of the campaign being to “let more people know about the benefits of family mediation and encourage separating couples to think about family mediation as a way of helping them take control, make decisions together and build a positive future for their family.”

The lawyers at LMP recognise the benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and opportunities to resolve family disputes out of Court.  Our website shares information about mediation, collaborative practice, arbitration, private hearings and round table meetings.

LMP’s Managing Partner, Simon Pigott, has a busy mediation practice and he says:

“Mediation is now an integral part of family law work – thankfully! While not for every couple’s circumstances, mediation provides a refreshing alternative to the more traditional and adversarial approach. Skilful mediators will offer options and alternatives with a view to finding solutions; they will provide a safe and constructive environment for the discussions; they will at all times be impartial and neutral. To be able to find a common ground will enable the couple, indeed the wider family, to manage better the consequences of the end of their relationship.”

Should you have any mediation enquiries, please contact Simon ([email protected]).  For general enquiries, please contact any member of the LMP team.  We are here to help with your enquiries in a sensitive and efficient way.

Finances on Divorce – Kate Stovold writes for Vantage Point

LMP Partner, Kate Stovold, continues to write for Vantage Point, the community magazine in Farnham, Surrey, with a focus in this latest article on the financial consequences of divorce.

Kate recognises that the divorce creates much uncertainty, particularly with an eye to the unravelling of family finances. Clients are often concerned about what they might receive and what they will need to pay.

Kate says this: “Once again, I am pleased to share my expertise in my home community and hope that my article provides support to families in need. I hope that my whistle-stop tour identifies important headlines and stresses the value of specialist advice.”

To read the article in full, please follow the link here.

Should you need any advice about finances on divorce, or family matters generally, please contact Kate: [email protected]