Following the breakdown of their marriage of nearly 20 years, it was recently reported that a judge in Santa Barbara, USA, has finalised a divorce settlement between Kevin Costner and his former wife. Both parties reached an amicable resolution of all issues related to their divorce proceedings. It was also reported that the judge upheld the terms of their pre-nuptial agreement, which was signed in 2004.
Pre-nuptial agreements, often referred to as prenups, are pretty commonplace in the US, but English law does not formally recognise pre-marital agreements in the same way that other countries do. However, when correctly drafted, the English Courts have given pre-marital agreements weight in several cases in recent years and treated them as significant when deciding how to divide assets. The circumstances under which a court will not uphold such an agreement have become increasingly limited. Therefore, it is crucial for both parties involved to enter a prenup with the genuine intent of being bound by its terms, assuming that the court will uphold it.
Pre-nuptial agreements may seem ‘unromantic’ or ‘pessimistic’, but protecting pre-existing financial assets, particularly in cases of significant pre-marital or family wealth or where there are children from a previous relationship, can give you peace of mind.
In this article, our family law team address some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the benefits of setting up a pre-nuptial agreement.
What is a Pre-nuptial Agreement?
A pre-nuptial agreement is a formal written agreement entered into by a couple before their marriage or civil partnership (or post-nuptial agreement if entered into after marriage). It outlines how their assets and finances would be divided in case of a divorce or dissolution.
Are Pre-nuptial Agreements Legally Binding in the UK and Wales?
As of now, pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in the UK or Wales. However, when correctly drafted, the English courts increasingly recognise their importance, and the circumstances under which they will not be upheld are limited.
Why Should You Consider a Prenup?
Pre-nuptial agreements provide clarity and protection for both partners. They can help safeguard pre-marital assets, inheritance rights, and financial stability and explain how it will be divided in the event of the breakdown of their marriage. Pre-nuptial agreements can also protect against financially costly disputes.
What Factors Influence the Enforceability of a Pre-nuptial Agreement?
Courts consider several factors, including full financial disclosure, independent legal advice for both parties and fairness, when determining whether to uphold a pre-nuptial agreement.
When Should You Discuss a Pre-nuptial Agreement?
It is advisable to discuss a prenup well in advance of your wedding or civil partnership. Starting an early conversation allows both parties to understand their rights and responsibilities fully.
For further insights into divorce and separation matters, you can explore our previous articles:
Pre-nuptial Agreement and Family Law Solicitors
Pre-nuptial agreements and family law disputes are complex areas of the law and require expert advice. Please get in touch with us on 0330 0250 176 or email@example.com to arrange an initial consultation to discuss the best way forward for you, and we will provide you with further and specific advice tailored to your circumstances.
When entering a marriage, there are other legal documents you should consider. We can also advise on Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, and inheritance tax planning. In the case of business owners, we can offer advice on how to protect the family firm should the marriage not work out.
Our experienced and understanding team are here to help you. We will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome.
This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors.