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Family Law

Should I have a Nuptial Agreement before I marry?

Nuptial agreements

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Jonathan Fuller, Family Law Solicitor at Samuel Phillips Law answers the most asked questions by clients thinking of getting a Pre-Nuptial Agreement in place prior to marriage.

What is a Nuptial Agreement?

A Nuptial Agreement (or Pre-Nuptial Agreement) is a legal document which is drawn up between a couple before their marriage to outline how each of their assets will be divided between them in the event of a divorce.

Assets including property, investments, shares, business interests are covered as income are usually covered in a typical Nuptial Agreement to help couples avoid any financial dispute if the relationship were to break down in the future.

Should I have a nuptial agreement in place before I marry?

Yes, especially if there are issues of inherited property, substantial assets already acquired, a family business and/or you are entering a 2nd marriage.

Are Nuptial Agreements Legally Binding?

Whilst Nuptial Agreements are not currently binding in the UK, they are becoming more accepted by the Courts as proof of a couple’s intentions should they wish to divorce in the future.

A three-stage test generally be applied by a Judge when seeking to give substantial consideration to a Nuptial Agreement and when deciding how to divide a couple’s assets on divorce.

The Judge must be satisfied;

1.      The Agreement must be entered into freely

2.      The Parties must have full appreciation of the implications of the agreement

3.      It must be fair to the parties to the agreement in the circumstances prevailing

If the Judge is satisfied that all parts of this test has been meet and that prior to the agreement being entered into both spouses had given disclosure to each other of their financial assets and income, the Judge may then be persuaded to make a Court Order in line with the Nuptial Agreement on divorce.

The Nuptial Agreement is not binding on the Judge dealing with the divorce especially if the spouses circumstances have changed i.e children have been born, but it is persuasive of the spouses intentions.

How long does a Nuptial Agreement last for?

A Nuptial Agreement once signed by both parties is a contract that will last the full duration of the marriage,

Can Nuptial Agreements be modified after Marriage?

Yes, if you make an nuptial agreement before the marriage which is always the best way to proceed that agreement should be revisited as circumstances change, after the marriage.

This is treated in the same way legally as Pre-Nuptial Agreements, but it is created after marriage (known as a Post-Nuptial Agreement).

If you would like advice or assistance on your own particular situation, then please do not hesitate to contact our friendly and supportive Family Law team on 0191 232 8451 or email familydepartment@samuelphillips.co.uk 

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