Preparing for your wedding should include planning your financial affairs. What is a Prenuptial Agreement and how wise is it to start married life by planning for all eventualities? Jane Cowley, Family Law Partner and Head of the East Midlands Private Client Group at Howes Percival LLP, answers a common question.
Q. We are getting married in three months time and, while we are happily planning the wedding day, we have also both been married before. We have been through divorce and know marriage doesn’t always have a happy ending. We are successful business people and wonder if a Prenuptial Agreement would be prudent to also put on the 'to do list' ahead of the wedding?
The simple answer is 'yes’. It might seem a very unromantic thing to be thinking about in the run up to your big day, but should the worst happen, you could look back on your Prenuptial Agreement as a major assistance to a financial agreement being reached. You may also find that sharing financial information and discussing and understanding your respective attitudes regarding financial matters might even bring you closer.
Four out of ten divorcees say they believe a Prenuptial Agreement would have led to a less costly, quicker and - perhaps most importantly - fairer and more amicable settlement, and that is from a survey of divorcees at all levels of income and backgrounds.
When it comes to wealthy people and those with shareholdings or outright ownership of businesses and other assets, then the case for a Prenuptial Agreement becomes more compelling still.
While headline-grabbing celebrity divorces often bring Prenuptial Agreements into the newspaper headlines, it is wrong to imagine that these are for the super-wealthy alone.
It sounds as if your assets, shares and other business interests would mean discussing a Prenuptial Agreement with a family law expert would be wise.
One of the key aims you should have in mind is to make your Prenuptial Agreement fair, based on the sharing of full and frank disclosure. In the event of a marriage breakdown, a well drafted Prenuptial Agreement is a relevant factor to be considered by the Court, who are taking Prenuptial Agreements increasingly more seriously.
Both husband and wife must be able to prove they have each volunteered full disclosure of their financial matters, were under no duress, and each received independent legal advice. It is worth noting that a Prenuptial Agreement should be signed at least 21 days before the wedding.