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Articles Family Law 6th Dec 2023

“Deck the Halls”: Celebrating getting engaged this season – the benefits of prenuptial discussions. The family law 12 days of Christmas – day 3

As we turn our calendars to December, and we can finally start getting into the Christmas spirit, our family law solicitors Alex Haworth and Gemma Nicholls-Webber share several of their favourite family law topics with a festive twist.

Over the first 12 working days of December, they’ll be giving their family law version of the 12 songs of Christmas, where they’ll cover a wide range of questions or issues that often arise when dealing with family law matters…

“Deck the Halls”: Celebrating getting engaged this season – the benefits of prenuptial discussions

The festive season is a great time for marriage proposals and looking forwards to the future.

Amongst the many preparations needed for the perfect wedding day, a prenuptial agreement is worth considering.

I find that it is often forgotten that when exchanging marriage vows, a couple is signing up to a financial agreement. This includes accepting that a judge will decide what is a fair and reasonable settlement of their financial resources if they divorce in future.

This can immediately impact on the resources they own on marriage as well as future resources. Take as an example where one person uses their savings to buy or renovate a family home that is owned by the couple jointly, as mentioned in Alex’s post on gifts. Those savings have changed from being a non-matrimonial asset to being matrimonial property owned by them both and unlikely to be reimbursed on any separation.

A prenuptial agreement acts as an insurance policy. Hopefully it will never have to be used, like all of the other wedding insurance, but available if necessary. While not strictly legally binding, the case law has moved us to a place where a well drafted reasonable document prepared in the right circumstances, such as well before the actual wedding day, is likely to carry weight.

It can potentially save significant future legal costs, as if they both agree to follow the pre-nup terms then there is no need for contested court proceedings.

It also means that they both enter marriage understanding what their vows mean financially and in my experience that clarity can help to support a relationship, in contrast to the common perception of undermining it.

If you or anyone you know would appreciate advice on prenuptial discussions or any of the other topics we have covered in our 12 songs of Christmas, please contact Alex Haworth or Gemma Nicholls-Webber.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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