With wedding bells chiming all over the island this summer and many couples planning their big day we are finding that a ‘pre-nuptial agreement’ is becoming a vital part of engaged couples to-do lists – no they’re not just for celebrities!

Known more commonly as a ‘pre-nup’ this agreement, drawn up and entered into before marriage, is a written contract entered into by both parties. Whilst they’re not quite as romantic as picking out wedding rings, they can be a very useful investment for any married couple who have financial assets.

A pre-nuptial agreement will set out all assets held by both parties and will address you’re your incomes and debt. It will also set out how they are to be divided if a separation occurs. Some people view a pre-nup to be similar to an insurance policy, hopefully you will never need to rely upon it however should the worst happen this could save you and your partner from emotional stress and significant financial harm later down the line.

Legally, a pre-nuptial agreement is a contract. In order for it to stand the best chance of being upheld in a divorce, a Court (who must consider whether the agreement is fair and reasonable) would be paying particular attention to the following:

  • Whether full financial disclosure was provided by each party;
  • That each party obtained independent legal advice and entered into the agreement free from any pressure or coercion;
  • That each party understood the nature of the agreement;
  • The date of the agreement (it should be signed well in advance of the marriage, and ideally no later than 28 days before);
  • Whether it would be unjust or unreasonable to either uphold the pre-nuptial agreement or set it aside?

Pre-nuptial agreements often hit the headlines for the wrong reasons which is why it is important that you should receive full legal advice before you decide to enter into one.

It is often a tough conversation to have with a partner as it is sometimes viewed as doubting the success of your marriage (but some would say the seating plan is more stressful!). However, to enter one is an entirely personal decision to make and should be made without any pressure from either side.

It is however particularly advisable to consider making one if there are substantial assets or debts held by one or both of you or, if you have previously been married and may wish to protect assets for your children in the future.

MannBenham have a dedicated team of Family Advocates who would be pleased to help advise you further about the benefits a pre-nuptial agreement can hold and are on hand to guide you through the process. Contact our office on 01624 639350 or email us at hello@mannbenham.com for a free initial consultation to see how we can help you.