The excitement around planning a wedding and getting married can be all consuming but prudent brides, grooms and their families should not overlook the financial implications of getting married.
Laura Martin, Head of Family Law at Blanchards Bailey, said “Financial planning is part of our everyday lives and business entrepreneurs usually protect themselves from risk within their business, but the same approach should be considered in any relationship”. We understand that it is not easy to bring up the idea of a prenuptial agreement before marriage, but with careful thought and planning it can save heartache in the future if a couple separate.
Here are Laura’s 5 top tips when considering prenuptial agreements:-
- Allow enough time before the wedding. A prenuptial agreement should be completed and signed at least 28 days before the wedding. You will therefore need enough time to talk through any issues, prepare the documentation and properly consider it before signing. If there is not enough time it would be wise to consider a postnuptial agreement, which is entered into after the wedding instead of before.
- Whilst prenuptial agreements are not strictly binding in English Law, the Courts are increasingly recognising prenuptial agreements where they are properly entered into, both have received independent legal advice, there has been full financial disclosure and the outcome of the prenuptial agreement is fair and reasonable at the time of separation.
- So what is fair and reasonable? It is difficult to know what will be fair and reasonable in the future; circumstances change. That is why it is vital to regularly review the prenuptial agreement and amend it as necessary to keep the document relevant and in date. It will be difficult to rely on a prenuptial agreement entered into 10 or 20 years ago where there has been a considerable change in circumstances.
- A change in circumstances, such as a birth of a child or receiving large gifts or inheritance from family, can affect a prenuptial agreement. With any life event such as this it is very important to review the prenuptial agreement to ensure that it still does what you both want it to do, and that in the event of separation the Court will still consider the result of the prenuptial agreement fair and reasonable.
- The prenuptial agreement will deal with what you would want to happen to the finances in the event of separation or divorce. You will therefore need to think about where you and any children will each live and what will happen to property and assets, how you will each afford your monthly outgoings and therefore how income is to be dealt with and your pension provision.