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24/03/2014 By: Caitlin Jenkins
Pre-Nuptial agreements, sometimes referred to as pre-nups or pre-marital agreements, have been the subject of the most recent Law Commission’s report. Not only are pre-nuptial agreements in vogue at the moment, they are also far more widely used, socially acceptable, and increasingly enforceable.
Not so long ago, having a pre-nup carried less weight as the courts would not treat them as legally binding contracts (although they remained highly influential). Recently however, the tide has changed. As courts now have to consider pre-nuptial agreements as set out in Radmacher v Granatino, and are now tentatively beginning to enforce them, the Law Commission decided it was finally time to prepare a report on them. This means that there may be drastic changes in this area of law, so watch this space! For an overview of the recommendations made by the Law Commission, please read the blog post by specialist divorce lawyer Tricia Ashton here.
A pre-nup can be a helpful way for engaged couples to set out the basis on which they would like their divorce to be dealt with. They are useful tools to decide how to divide assets, i.e. percentage split of the family home, so long as the other person has their (and their children’s, if any) needs provided for. Pre-nups can be especially helpful when there are significant assets built up before the marriage, such as a family business, that one person feels should be kept separate from divorce proceedings.
They also make financial sense. Pre-nups can substantially reduce the need for unnecessary legal fees when it comes to divorce proceedings. So long as they are entered into freely by a couple who understand its implications, whilst being fair and meeting the needs of the other person, there is much less need for legal costs due to fewer areas of dispute.
If pre-nups sound like something that you are interested in, or you would like to find out more, please contact us. You will find more information about who you can speak to, including contact details, under the divorce advisers section.
Caitlin JenkinsFamily Law Partner & Head of Family Law for the Eastern RegionCambridge