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Pre-marital Agreement

For those intending to marry or re-marry, you may wish to set out how you will own your own individual assets. A Pre – Marital Agreement or Pre Nuptial Agreement may protect you from financial loss in case your relationship breaks down.

A Pre – Marital Agreement is an agreement between two people contemplated and completed prior to their Marriage which specifies the division of their assets in the event of a Divorce.

Here at Sharratts, we can advise you on how a Pre Nuptial Agreement may be relevant. This is a subject of extreme delicacy. It needs to be approached with diplomacy and needs to be mindful of the current legislations. People are turning towards the more pragmatic approach in recognising that a Pre Nuptial Agreement does not spoil the romance. It is not a certainty that it will be needed but rather a support if things go wrong. We can work in tandem with your intended spouse’s Solicitors to ensure that matters are dealt with sympathetically but our primary aim is to look after your best interests.

Pre Nuptial Agreements are not legally binding in the UK. A District Judge in a financial dispute arising from a Marriage breakdown or Divorce has wide ranging powers. However, a Pre Nuptial Agreement is a relevant factor which the Court will take into account when considering and reaching a fair assessment.

In order for a Pre – Marital Agreement to have any standing in a subsequent Divorce it is important that the following guidelines are adhered to: -

1. Each party should have independent legal advice.

2. Full financial disclosure should take place – this means that each Solicitor should be given the complete picture in respect of your assets, income and debts and this information shall subsequently be exchanged between Solicitors.

3. Pre Nuptial Agreements should preferably be completed three months before the Wedding. The sooner the better, but if there is a whirlwind courtship or the matter is overlooked, it is best to compete a late Pre Nuptial Agreement than none at all.

4. No undue influence should be exerted. If one party is pressured into signing then this is a relevant factor which will be taken into account later if the Marriage fails.

The Pre Nuptial Agreement is designed to include an analysis of all the parties assets and income and how they are owned and how future ownership is intended. For example: -

1. How the property will be divided.

2. How Bank accounts will be divided.

3. How shares and other assets of value will be divided.

4. Which assets are owned jointly, which are owned solely and by whom and how these assets will be dealt with following the relationship breakdown.

5. Maintenance – whether one party will pay maintenance to the other and if so, for how much and for how long.

If you have any queries regarding Pre – Marital Agreements and wish to discuss the matter further, please contact us.

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