Prenuptial agreement services

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The increase of divorce rates in recent years has resulted in a more prenuptial agreements being arranged. These prenuptial agreements have become more commonplace in England and Wales, and as such the courts begun to adapt how they regard prenuptial agreements. The court have upheld prenuptial agreements during a divorce or separation proceedings. There are a variety of property divisions which can affect the validity of a prenuptial agreement during a court ordered divorce. However, as long as the prenuptial agreement follows the principles set out below there should not be any  issues with the court upholding this legally prepared document.

As a result of these strict principles, it is crucial that you have a formal legal deed drawn up by solicitors for the prenuptial agreement. These prenuptial agreements are designed to provide certainty for a couple and protect any pre-marital assets and wealth; including inheritance, property, and also children from a previous relationship or marriage.

The Agreement allocates what the couples’ rights will be regarding property, income and assets before marriage or after marriage including property purchased together. The agreement can also outline what will happen to inherited assets which are brought into a marriage.

Any assets which a couple possess together within a marriage are deemed “matrimonial assets” unless they are specifically protected. The purpose of the Prenuptial Agreement is to organise exactly what would happen to these assets should the marriage break down.

Therefore, couples need to consider several factors before entering into a prenuptial agreement. These include:

  • The property that you wish to protect should the marriage break down.
  • The assets you may have acquired during a previous divorce, so you do not lose them or to protect them as they may not have been in a previous marriage.
  • Widows/widowers can also protect assets for their children including inheritance of property or other assets to ensure the current marriage is unable to include them in the matrimonial assets.
  • Also the agreement can help prevent future legal costs or battles should the marriage breakdown.

In the last few years England’s court system has given more weight to prenuptial agreements. The agreement is designed to show your intentions at the outset of the marriage, as well as prevent changes or emotions from affecting the original thoughts you may have had entering into the marriage.

As such, there are a number of principles the court will consider. Some of these principles are more relevant than others, such as:

  • The court will assess if both parties were advised legally with regard to the prenuptial agreement before it was signed.
  • The court will determine if pressure from either party to sign the agreement occurred.
  • Lastly, it is assessed if both parties had full asset disclosure e.g. whether both parties knew fully what they were entering into.

These principles are considered because the court wants to make certain that the Agreement is completely fair, just and reasonable. If the agreement is proven to be fair, it will be upheld during divorce proceedings. During the course of your marriage a lot of things can change. You may have children, whilst also taking care of children from a previous marriage. You may buy a home or other assets during married life. These assets and your children will be taken into account during the financial settlement phase.

With English divorce cases the primary concern associated with financial settlements and the divorce is the welfare of any children involved. The court will look first at minors in the family to determine that they have proper financial stability, a home in which to live, and that responsibilities will be met with the party with whom the children live. If the prenuptial agreement is deemed unfair with regards to the children involved, it may not be upheld.

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