I only have to mention the phrase ‘pre nuptial agreement’ to people and they turn a slightly paler shade especially if they happen to be planning a wedding. To be honest the same happens when I tell people I am a divorce lawyer. They back politely away muttering that they are happily married. That’s great – I’m all for being happily married.
But as with most things in life it can go wrong. We get ill, sadly people die and marriages break down. You think nothing of taking out life insurance and critical illness cover and of course making a will to protect you and your family should the worst occur. So why is it that the words ‘pre nuptial agreement’ fill people with such horror. Doesn’t the same principle apply? A pre-nuptial agreement is simply another way of protecting yourself and your family if things go wrong. Unromantic they may be but essential in my view if you have assets and want to protect them.
Think about the situation for example where you have a property and some savings and a young child from a previous relationship. You’ve made a Will and have some life insurance to protect your child should you die. The maintenance you receive for your child is protected by an insurance policy. And then you meet someone and decide to marry. Your new spouse moves into your property and you remain happily married for say 10 years. Unfortunately your marriage breaks down and a divorce follows.
What happens to those assets that were yours on your divorce? Chances are that they will have become matrimonial and your soon to be ex husband or wife may be entitled to a share! Is that what you intended? This situation could have been prevented with a properly drafted pre-nuptial agreement. The current law seems to be giving more and more weight to pre-nuptial agreements and I’m guessing they will increasingly become normal practice as in other countries for those who marry and want to protect their assets.
For advice on your particular situation call me, Karen Weiner on 01923 521003 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org