Getting married is a wonderful, exciting time for couples. In the build-up to getting married and in the midst of arranging your perfect wedding, it is understandable that you might not pay as much attention to what could happen if your relationship doesn’t work out in the long-term.
It is an unfortunate fact that almost half (42 per cent) of marriages in the UK end in divorce, so although it may seem unromantic, it is nevertheless important to prepare for all eventualities.
Just as insurance provides financial protection in the event that you are involved in a motor accident or your home suffers a break-in, a pre-nup can help to offer financial assurance in the event that the worst happens.
What is a pre-nup?
Many couples preparing for marriage may have accrued significant assets in their own names prior to the relationship or marriage, such as property, business interests, pensions, savings etc. The best way to ensure that each party’s assets are protected in the event of an unfortunate breakdown in the marriage, is to ensure that a pre-nuptial agreement is prepared.
A pre-nuptial agreement or ‘prenup’ as it is often referred to, is a formal document which enables couples to set out exactly, in writing, what they want to happen to their individual assets in the event of a divorce.
In recent years, pre-nuptial agreements have been growing increasingly common in the UK, as divorce rates continue to rise and celebrity splits reveal messy examples of what might happen if divorce proceedings go pear-shaped.
How does a pre-nup provide an equitable financial split?
In England and Wales, in many cases all of the parties’ assets upon divorce are capable of being divided or at least taken into account by the Courts.
However, the reality of many modern relationships is that one partner will often have made a greater financial or asset-based contribution to a relationship than another.
Persuading the Court to depart from an equal division of the assets can be both difficult and costly, so it is imperative that a party seeking to ring-fence their assets puts early protective measures in place.
Pre-nuptial agreements are essential to lay out “who owns what” from day one, ensuring that each partner knows where they stand from the outset and that the likelihood of uncertainties or arguments arising later on is minimised.
Whether you are getting married for the first time or remarrying in later life, it is important to seek tailored advice from a specialist lawyer to ensure that your assets are protected and your pre-nuptial agreement is water-tight.
What if the wedding has already taken place?
You can still put in place a financial agreement, using a post-nup, which works in a similar way to a pre-nup agreement and will set out exactly how assets should be distributed between you and your partner should your marriage break down.
For more information about putting in place either a pre-nup or post-nup agreement, please get in touch with us.