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76 Advertising feature


betrothed is not really in the spirit of things. No-one wants to think about preparing for it all to go wrong alongside promises of growing old together. But while it’s not romantic, it might be the most sensible thing you ever do, especially when 42 per cent of marriages now end in divorce.


LEGAL CORNER T


here’s no denying that suggesting a pre-nuptial agreement to your newly


Why should I have one? When marriages fail and emotions run high, there can be unexpected reactions. So it can be sensible to make decisions in advance of anything going wrong. It’s worth thinking about pre-nups in the same way as life insurance. It’s something you hope you’ll never need, but it’s there to protect you or your family if the worst happens.


Aren’t pre-nups only for the rich and famous? Although nuptial agreements have traditionally been thought of as the preserve of the wealthy, there are many different types of couples who can benefit:


• A young professional couple without children wish to keep their assets ringfenced as they accumulate savings from earnings.


• An older couple, where one/both of them has been married before, want to pool their resources to a limited degree (e.g. buying a house together) but otherwise keep their assets separate, so that they may leave them to children from a previous marriage.


• Where one of the spouses-to-be is widowed and wants to carve out and protect assets left to them by their deceased spouse.


Nuptial Agreements Q&A by Jim Parker, Business Development Manager


• If there are expectations of future inheritances on one/both sides, a couple may wish to make clear what will and won’t be shared on divorce.


• If a family member is gifting the couple money, e.g. to put towards a property purchase, it is sensible to have a nuptial agreement saying that in the event of divorce that money would stay with the spouse whose family gifted the money.


• A family may wish to protect wealth that has been built up over many generations. There may also be assets that have been passed down the generations and have great significance beyond monetary value, such as a family heirloom or landed estate.


“IT CAN BE SENSIBLE TO MAKE DECISIONS IN ADVANCE OF ANYTHING GOING WRONG.”


But will my pre-nup hold up in court? A pre-nup is a legal document agreeing the distribution of the couple’s property, debts, income and assets - acquired jointly or individually - in the event of a divorce. Pre-nups are not currently legally binding in the UK and the family court still has the power to redistribute a family’s assets as they see fit. However, pre-nups tend to be highly influential. The Supreme Court states that the court should uphold a pre-nup that has been freely entered into by both parties if there is a full appreciation of its implications, unless it would be inherently unfair to do so.


But what if I don’t have much to lose? You may be the less wealthy partner now, but that could change. You have to consider whether you would be willing to give away half of these assets to your spouse in the event of divorce. Alternatively, the relationship could prevent you from making certain career advancements, or you may stop working to look after children. A nuptial agreement can prevent you from suffering as a result of these sacrifices.


When should I bring up the topic? Ensure you discuss it and finalise the agreement well in advance of the wedding. It is best to start at least three months before to ensure there is no undue pressure on either partner and allow time for negotiations, full disclosure and legal advice. Otherwise you may need to consider a post-nup (made after marriage) instead.


How should I bring up the topic? Many people avoid raising the issue of pre-nups, but there are a number of ways to approach the subject sensitively. Make it clear that while you hope to remain happily married for the rest of your days, it’s common sense to prepare for the alternative.


What should I do if my fiancé presents me with one? Firstly, don’t panic. Seek the advice of a family lawyer, but whatever you do, don’t just sign on the dotted line.


How can I get one drafted? Wollens have a team of specialist family lawyers who can prepare a pre- or post- nuptial agreement for you. If you would like more information, please contact a member of the Wollens family team.


CONTACT WOLLENS FOR MORE INFORMATION 10 THE QUAY, DARTMOUTH, DEVON TQ6 9PT EMAIL - INFOWOLLENS.CO.UK www.wollens.co.uk 01803 832191/213251


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