Whatever you do, don’t say the ‘P’ Word: There is no doubt about it: prenups are a divisive issue. If you want to find out how romantic a person truly is, say “prenup”, step back, and watch what happens. Aysen Soyer, Head of Family Law at Wilson Solicitors in London talks to us about the ins and outs of the prenup.
Some argue that even thinking about what should happen to assets should your marriage come to an end is terribly pessimistic. Others feel that having the discussion early is pragmatic, realistic, and paves the way for a more harmonious future.
The issue has come to the fore again in recent months, with the media unpicking the “cast iron” prenup entered into by Jennifer Aniston and Justin Trudeau before they tied the knot – but what are they, how do they work, and is there enough information out there on them?
Who considers a prenup, and why?
Prenups are on the rise in the UK, with an increasing number of people enquiring about putting one in place prior to marriage, to protect assets from a potential future divorce. According to recent statistics, a growing number of those signing prenups in the UK are between 31 and 45.
Are they enforceable?
The Courts in England and Wales are increasingly willing to hold people to these agreements if they are freely and willingly entered into.
The key points to bear in mind when considering entering into a prenuptial agreement:
There must be no undue influence or pressure from one party on the other to sign the agreement;
There must be full and frank disclosure to each party of the other party’s assets and liabilities;
Each party must obtain their own independent legal advice.
It is advisable that any prenuptial agreement is entered into at least 21 days before the wedding, to avoid any suggestion of pressure or influence.
If the above criteria are met, and the Court is satisfied that the agreement is not unfair and that there have been no unexpected and unforeseen circumstances, the Court is likely to find that the parties should be bound by the agreement that they entered into.
How does the process work?
For those considering getting a prenup drafted before their wedding, independent legal advice should be sought by each party. They must see solicitors in different firms, and must not attend any appointments together. This ensures that the process is fair, and that both parties can be honest at outset about their expectations.
One solicitor will draft the agreement with their client, and the other will consider it with their client and make any necessary amendments. Then it’s done, and you will hopefully never have to think about it again.
Are they really as bad as all that?
A prenuptial agreement is a strong evidential document to show the Court what you and your partner intended to happen to your assets in the event that your marriage comes to an end. As distressing a thought as it is, the process of dividing assets when there is no such agreement in place can make a painful situation even worse.
The process of putting a prenup in place tends to be quick and painless, and is generally sorted out within a week if both parties are in agreement. After it is done, there is nothing else to focus on but your Happily Ever After.
Aysen Soyer is Head of Family Law at Wilson Solicitors in London (www.wilsonllp.co.uk)