If you plan on getting married or you are divorced and plan to remarry then you may want to sort out at the beginning who will own what individual and personal assets. We hear a lot about pre-nuptial agreements but these are largely between celebrities who may have significant amounts of property and money to consider. A pre-nuptial agreement is designed to protect individuals, particularly those with the most to lose, from too much financial loss if the relationship comes to an end.
A pre-nuptial agreement is completed and agreed by two people before the actual wedding as this refers to the division of assets in the event of their divorce. Britain is not the United States and in the UK a pre-nuptial agreement is not legally binding so you may not have as much protection as you thought you would. In any divorce or separation where there are financial disputes and a couple cannot agree, the district judge has wide ranging powers to make a financial order that is legally binding on both parties. While a pre-nuptial agreement may be included in the list of relevant issues that the court takes into account before making their financial assessment, it is not legally binding in and of itself.
If you do have significant assets and are worried what might happen if you divorce in the future or if you remarry then you should see a specialist divorce and family law solicitor who can advise you as to the relevance and preparation of a pre-nuptial agreement. In today’s world, people tend to see pre-nuptial agreements as a realistic start to a relationship rather than the denial of love as some believe. In the UK in particular pre-nuptial agreements are still a delicate matter and not widely used. A good solicitor will be able to advise you as the best way to go about such an agreement and how it should be drawn up if it is to be used in future for a court’s financial assessment.
There is no certainty that a pre-nuptial agreement will ever be brought into force, but for some people just having such an agreement provides them with a certain level of support. You can think of a pre-nuptial agreement as an insurance policy and the agreement often works better when both of the solicitors of the two people concerned can work together on such a document. The primary aim of your solicitor will be to see that the document is worked out to the benefit of both people in a sympathetic manner.
While a pre-nuptial agreement is not legally enforceable under UK law, if the couple do decide to divorce some time in the future, the agreement can be presented to the court as part of the evidence of an overall financial agreement between the two parties. The court will take a pre-nuptial agreement into account and such agreements have certainly influenced judge’s financial arrangement decisions in the past.