Planning a Romantic Valentine’s Day Proposal? Think pre-nup

  • Posted

St Valentine’s Day is a time of romance for many, when couples show their love and affection for each other by exchanging cards and gifts. For many, it will also be the day that they chose to propose marriage.  Should they also be thinking about a pre-nup?

If you are planning on making a marriage proposal this Valentine’s then you also need to be thinking about another proposal – a pre-nup. Far from romantic, I know, but with an eye watering 42% of marriages sadly ending in divorce this is an important consideration not only financially but also emotionally.

Divorce is known to be one of the three most stressful situations many people will experience during their life time, alongside bereavement and moving home. A prenuptial agreement will provide some form of security and peace of mind should things go wrong. It is therefore important to think about a pre-nup and seek advice from a specialist Family lawyer.

Is a pre-nup agreement legally binding?

At present, it is not possible to guarantee that a prenuptial agreement will be upheld up by a court. However, it is clear that there are a number of steps one can take to make it more likely that a court would choose to give effect to an agreement. So, here are some “Dos” and “Don’ts” for pre-nups.

“Dos” for prenuptial agreements

  • Ensure that you both receive separate and independent legal advice so that you fully understand the terms of the agreement. Ideally, you should approach lawyers well in advance of the wedding. It should be signed at least 28 days before the ceremony.
  • Ensure that you both give material disclosure to the other concerning your financial position.
  • Ensure that sufficient financial provision is made for the financially weaker party and children.
  • Ensure that you both enter in to the agreement voluntarily and you are willing to be bound by its terms in the event of divorce.
  • Ensure that the agreement has been properly negotiated and consider incorporating a review of the terms in the event of a significant change in circumstances.
  • Ensure that the agreement is contractually valid and is signed as a deed.

“Don’ts” for prenuptial agreements

  • Put pressure or any undue influence on the financially weaker party to enter into an agreement.
  • Fail to make material financial disclosure.
  • Sign an agreement if you are in any way unsure about its implications.
  • Be mean.  If the pre-nup does not provide for your partner’s basic needs then the court will step in.

Here to Help

If you need advice about prenuptial agreements or another Family Law matter then please contact our Partner and Head of Divorce and Family Law, Tracey Dargan.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.