In 2006, a landmark judgement involving a German heiress ruled for the first time in the English divorce courts that prenuptial agreements should have decisive weight. The intervening period since this case has seen the advent of further legal precedents, as well as a Law Commission Report. As a consequence, we are seeing an increase in clients enquiring about pre-nuptial agreements (also known as post-nuptial agreements and living together agreements.
This is a common myth. Engaged couples often make asymmetric contributions when buying property before they marry. Likewise, couples on second marriages may have assets and children from previous marriages that they are keen to protect. In addition, some individuals have significant family or inherited assets that they would want to keep in the sad event that they divorce. Arguably, a nuptial agreement is the best way to provide these couples with certainty and it is expected that nuptial agreements will become more common, bringing us in line with the US and European countries.
The Law Commission laid out conditions for nuptial agreements to be considered binding. In a nutshell:
The parties to a nuptial agreement should bear in mind that signing an agreement does not necessarily exclude the possibility of court proceedings, although it is hoped that the surety of an agreement may reduce costly and lengthy divorce litigation.
As a Collaboratively trained lawyer, Lin Cumberlin has experience of dealing with the preparation of Nuptial Agreements using the Collaborative Law process. Having advised on Nuptial Agreements using both the traditional, solicitor led, negotiation process and the Collaborative process, Lin takes the view that the collaborative approach ensures a more positive and constructive way of dealing with such a sensitive matter at what should be one of the happiest times of a couple’s lives. Using this process of 4-way roundtable meetings ensures that the happy couple are completely involved and in control of everything that is happening, allowing them to make informed decisions about their future together.
If you would like more information or to discuss your specific requirements, please contact Lin Cumberlin: