Brushing your teeth? A pre-nup conversation starter…
The Financial Times printed a rather tongue-in-cheek article suggesting the best time to ask your fiancé for a prenup is when they are brushing their teeth, so it minimises their ability to speak!
Joking aside, it is a conversation that you ought to have if you are engaged, particularly if you or your other half have built up assets or property prior to getting together. This is particularly common if you are marrying later in life, or indeed if it is your second marriage.
It’s never going to be an easy conversation to have, nor will it seem particularly romantic, however, it will help to clarify things if matters do take a turn for the worse.
Over time you will both have your own assets and joint assets and a prenup helps distinguish what will happen in the case of divorce. Even after you are married your views may change, particularly if children are involved. The sooner these discussions are aired, the better.
Once you are married, the Court has discretion as to how to distribute assets in the event of a subsequent breakup. Whilst they take note of contributions, this is not the final word. A range of factors have to be taken into account including both of your needs, and the need for your children to be properly cared and provided for.
The Court must have regard to all the circumstances and this includes the existence of any prenuptial agreement. In the past the Courts indicated that they would not be bound by a prenuptial agreement. However, recent cases have suggested that the Court recognises and will follow agreements fairly reached by both of you with full knowledge of the situation and adequate legal advice.
Ultimately, the Court has the power to make the final decision and will do so to address need or unfairness. However, there is much more weight placed upon a prenuptial agreement – particularly where it is signed well in advance of your wedding.
If you think a prenup agreement would be beneficial for your relationship, please contact one of our experienced family solicitors for an informal discussion. We would recommend that any agreement is completed atleast 3 months before your big day, however we would suggest starting conversations around 6 months before your wedding to ensure that any negotiations are complete and documents finalised.