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.