Pre-nuptial agreements are often seen as a cynical and unromantic approach to getting married, but since it’s considered sensible to insure and protect every other aspect of our lives – from writing a will to insuring a car – why should a relationship be any different?
And it’s not just the super-wealthy or celebrities who need a pre-nup – over half of UK marriages end in divorce – and while pre-nuptial agreements are not automatically technically binding in divorce proceedings, they can be extremely helpful in minimising antagonism and protracted financial negotiations in the event of separation.
There are clear steps laid out by the Court and the Law Commisssion when it comes to pre-nups, ensuring that any terms of agreement are considered within a settlement. And, when emotions are running high and accusations are flying, having a clearly laid out document of your previous intentions to divide up assets can be a lifeline in coming to a resolution as quickly and simply as possible.
Because a pre-nup is created by both parties before the events that led to divorce, it remains objective, and offers a blueprint of a couple’s finances and intentions for a fair and equal marriage. In simple terms, it’s a good place to start, and allows you to skip over some of those initial difficult conversations about who gets what and why.
As for killing the romance, a pre-nup should be viewed much the same way as an insurance policy. We all know it’s sensible (and required by law!) to insure a vehicle, but that doesn’t mean we hope or expect our car to be stolen or to end up in a crash. It’s just a way of making sure we’re protected should the worst happen. The same can be said of a pre-nuptial agreement. Instead of suggesting that a couple has little faith in the lasting power of their marriage, it shows that they respect one another enough to put safeguards in place to protect them both if things don’t turn out the way they hoped. A pre-nup can even strengthen a relationship, allowing couples to plan for their life together with a feeling of security and openness instead of rose-tinted optimism.
A pre-nup can be particularly useful if a couple has children, property, investments, or a business together, all of which may become complicated issues when it comes to co-parenting as a separated couple and negotiating financial settlements. And, much like any other legal process, it’s important for couples to seek sound financial advice from a solicitor before entering into an agreement. Your family lawyer will help you to set out the terms of your pre-nup according to your assets, liabilities, living arrangements and plans for the future, ensuring a fair outcome should your marriage eventually come to an end.
And, once you have a pre-nup in place, the hope is that you can forget all about it and get on with your life – with the added reassurance that you have a back-up plan in place if you need it. No one draws up a pre-nuptial agreement with the intention of splitting up, but it can be a huge asset to dispute resolution by simplifying the process and providing groundwork for an amicable separation.
To speak to an experienced family lawyer about pre-nuptial agreements, co-habitation agreements, separation or divorce, get in touch with us at www.franceslindsay.co.uk.cohabitation agreements, divorce, marriage, prenup, prenuptial agreements