The basics of Pre-nuptial Agreements in England & Wales

by John Hirst on May 9, 2013

What is a Pre-nuptial Agreement?

A Pre-nuptial Agreement or Pre-marital Agreement is effectively a written contract between two people who intend to marry, which sets out and regulates how the parties` finances and assets should be distributed upon divorce.

These types of agreements are becoming more and more popular in England & Wales as they are now taken into account by the courts when dealing with financial order proceedings following the landmark ruling in Radmacher v Granantino.

Are they enforceable in England & Wales ?

Prior to the case of Radmacher v Granatino prenuptial agreements were not taken into account upon divorce and they were generally viewed as being contrary to public policy.

Strictly speaking, a pre-nuptial agreement does not override the jurisdiction of the courts, in other words it is still arguable for one of the parties to contest that they are bound by the terms of the agreement.

When considering financial order proceedings the courts must have regard to a list of factors contained within s25 Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. The courts will consider the agreements as either `conduct which it would be inequitable to disregard` or `one of the circumstances of the case`.

Although these agreements are becoming more and more popular in England it is important to emphasise that they are not strictly legally binding under English Law and are only one of a number of factors which are taken into account by the courts upon financial order proceedings.

What are the Formalities for a Pre-nuptial Agreement?

A Pre-nuptial agreement cannot be entered into 5 minutes before the actual wedding. There are a number of formalities that have to observed in order for the court to properly recognise the agreement which are as follows:

  • The parties have both had completely separate and independent legal advice;
  • The parties have both made a very full and frank disclosure of their respective financial positions to each other;
  • There has been no pressure or undue influence brought to bear by one party in order to compel the other party to enter into the agreement;
  • If you are considering an agreement it is always prudent for you to seek advice as soon as you possibly can and certainly well before your intended marriage or civil partnership ceremony ( at least 21 days )

How much does a Pre-nuptial Agreement cost ?

Most Solicitors offer fixed fees for drafting Pre-nuptial Agreements. Remember that both parties need to seek separate independent legal advice and therefore there will be two separate amounts of legal fees to pay.

All Solicitors will require a schedule of your assets which will either be annexed to or contained within the body of the agreement therefore make sure that you provide your Solicitor with a full and comprehensive list of your finances and assets.

Here at Laker Legal Solicitors we are specialist Family Law Solicitors with over 30 years experience in legal practice. We provide fixed fees for Pre-nuptial Agreements from £375 + VAT

We have Solicitors in Lancaster, Solicitors in Kendal, Solicitors in Barrow-In-Furness,  Solicitors in Preston, Solicitors in Maidstone and Solicitors in London. See our Family Law Services for more details or contact us.

John Hirst
Trainee Solicitor at Laker Legal Solicitors. (1st class LLB Hons)
John Hirst
John Hirst

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