Prenuptial Agreements in England are now often regarded as binding though the court retains discretion as to whether an agreement should be enforced.
Overall they must be fair in their effects of the proper maintenance requirements of the economically weaker spouse, and any dependent children are provided for.
The agreement can provide a code as to how you agree to manage your finances during the marriage. It can also specify what you expect to happen should either of you die. It is important to note, however, that Wills are required to carry out your wishes upon death. Foreign Wills may also be necessary.
There is not a “standard” form of prenuptial agreement in England, because in English law marriage does not alter the ownership of property. This is unlike some countries, where marriage will create a “community of property” unless there is a prenuptial agreement.
Because the question of what is fair varies so much for individual circumstances, prenuptial agreements have to be carefully drafted to fit individual circumstances.
Example situations where an agreement may be required
- Couples pooling their earnings to buy a property.
- Couples intending to have a first child, and planning their future finances.
- Where there are children from a previous relationship.
- One party is wealthier than the other or has been married previously.
- One party is at risk of insolvency due to business downturns or other issues.
- Couples getting married after having already cohabited and considering combining finances.
- Where parents or relatives are contributing to a house or savings fund
Pre-Nuptial Agreements: Frequently Asked Questions
What do Brookman offer?
Everyone’s situation is unique, but we do offer some “standard” types of agreement should your situation come within their scope. If you contact us we will send you our Basic Information Form, and when you return that to us we can do an initial estimate as to the probable cost.
We also ask that clients who require a pre-nuptial agreement contact us at least 8 weeks prior to the wedding day so the necessary work can be completed in time. Most couples are busy enough anyway in the weeks immediately prior to the big day. However, if you are due to marry in less than 8 weeks’ time you still have the option for us to draft your post-nuptial agreement if required.
Do you offer Wills as well?
Yes, we recommend making Wills to dovetail with the agreement. As with proposed agreements, we can assess if we can offer a fixed fee for one of our standard Wills, or whether more complicated drafting is needed.
Do you arrange insurance and financial advice?
We liaise with independent financial advisors where appropriate, because they are accredited with the Financial Services Authority.
Aren’t pre-nups unromantic?
You are getting married to signal a long-term commitment and as you might expect, there will be plenty of unromantic decisions to make in the course of your marriage. For some couples without pre-nuptial agreements, the uncertainly of their financial set-up can cause underlying and long-term issues. It is better start with a plan so both of you are comfortable with how you stand for the future.
Henry Brookman gives an exclusive interview to BBC London Radio and discusses important issues regarding pre–nuptial agreements.
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Pre-nuptial Contracts - Scenario Analysis Example #1
Mr P saw us about whether a pre-nuptial would be appropriate. He was a business man with substantial assets in England. He was entering into an arranged marriage with a distant relative who was a company executive. Whilst they naturally hoped it would work they both wanted to realistically consider what would happen if it did not.
We advised on an agreement which preserved their individual property except for the property which was to be their home. We then built in a formula that if they had children it would provide more generously for the future Mrs P. Finally, if the marriage lasted more than 7 years the agreement was to end and the ordinary law would apply. His fiance was independently advised and agreed to the deal. We are pleased to confirm that Mr and Mrs P have had a happy marriage.
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