Friday, June 30, 2006
Do you need a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?
WHAT IS A PRE-MARITAL AGREEMENT?
A Pre-Marital Agreement is an agreement between two people contemplated and completed prior to their marriage which specifies the division of their assets in the event of divorce.
IS IT WORTH THE PAPER IT'S WRITTEN?
Judges are starting to take them into account but are not bound by them.
There are certain guidelines which will go a long way to ensuring your Prenup has standing:
1. Don't bully your partner into signing!
2. Draw the agreement up as soon as possible.
At least 3 weeks but preferably 3 months before the wedding.
3. Both parties MUST HAVE independent legal advice.
4. Reveal everything (about your finances).
Without full financial disclosure it really is worthless because the other party does not know what they are agreeing to. Obvious? Should you be contemplating marriage if you want to keep your financial affairs secret? Do you think she might only be marrying you for your money? Are you good looking, kind, dynamic, thoughtful, romantic, understanding, intelligent, generous, good fun? No, at least one of the above? If not your suspicions could be right.
5. Is it fair?
Come on, that needs no further explanation.
How sound your prenup is also depends on how long your marriage lasts and whether you have any children . Although you could take that into account a la certain celebrity marriages, ie the amount of money she gets increases with each year of marriage. That puts a new spin on the old "we're only staying together because of the dog" approach and is a useful form of pension saving for the wife.
The arrival of children, if not contemplated and provided for in the prenup will seriously undermine an agreement. Sensible and fair.
Anybody considering marriage in England and Wales, and in the lucky position of having more assets than their intended spouse should seriously consider a prenup.