Increasingly we are being asked to prepare pre-nuptial agreements setting out how assets would be divided in the event of divorce.

Whilst this is hardly romantic, it is becoming increasingly popular, often at the insistence of wealthy parents who want to safeguard the family assets in the event of a marriage breaking down.

Pre-nups are recognised by the English courts but they are not part of the law as such.  However, solicitors expect it will only be a matter of time before they do become legally binding.  Certainly they one of the factors that the court take into account and if both parties have had independent legal advice and full details of what the assets are, it is highly likely that they will be binding.

The other pertinent factor is that the pre-nup has to have been prepared in plenty of time before the wedding (more than 21 days) otherwise there would be an argument to say that it could have been signed under duress.

Pre-nups can contain anything the parties want.  In America clauses have included bizarre things such as maximum weight levels for the bride and undertakings that a certain number of hot meals must be provided each week!  Clauses about pets and promises not to put things on social media in the event of a break-up can also be included as well as the more standard clauses about how to divide up property.

A recent Financial Times article suggested that a pre-nup could cost between £5,000.00 and a £100,000.00. Goodness knows where they got those figures from as we would not expect a pre-nup to cost more than a few hundred pounds unless it is particularly lengthy or complicated.  They are well worth considering as part of the overall cost of the wedding, given the potential saving in the event of it all going wrong further down the line.

The build up to the wedding is obviously a happy time so we would recommend that a pre-nuptial agreement should be done collaboratively, if at all possible.  This means the parties sit round the table with their respective lawyers to talk things through and agree the terms face to face.  That way, everyone will work together to get the best possible outcome for the couple.

Beecham Peacock  have collaboratively trained lawyers in our family department, so if this is something of interest to you, please get in touch so we can explain the process to you further.

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