Unfortunately, “Don’t you love me?” is not an uncommon response when one fiancé asks the other to negotiate a prenuptial agreement. For many partners, the thought of drawing up the plans which will be put in place if the marriage fails, can only be seem pessimistic, unromantic and horribly pragmatic and so, the request is usually met with negativity.
Here at Healys LLP our family lawyers in Brighton and London see prenuptial agreements, and postnuptial agreements, as sound financial planning; something akin to an insurance policy to protect yourself should the worst happen.
No-one thinks twice about totting up the value of the contents of their home and then buying a policy which will pay out should the belongings be lost, damaged, or stolen. We all hope that we will not have to use an insurance policy, but when something bad happens, we are always thankful that we protected ourselves. This is the way Healys’ family lawyers view prenuptial agreements.
Many people feel that a pre-nup will be set up to penalise them if the marriage fails, but the family courts in England and Wales are not completely bound by the contents such documents and will not see an ex-spouse, and their dependents, disadvantaged as a result of any agreement. Although the courts are looking to pre-nups more and more to guide them in the division of assets on divorce, family judges have the power to disregard any prenuptial or postnuptial agreement which they feel is unfair or has not been entered into willingly and with the proper legal advice.
However, a pre-nup is not always the easiest thing to ask for.
Those tricky questions regarding prenuptial agreements
So, you’ve worked out how you are going to approach the subject and have spoken with a family lawyer about what you can and can’t ask your fiancé to agree to. And when you say you would like a pre-nup, your partner says one or all of the following:
- Why do we need one?
- Don’t you love me anymore?
- Do you still want to get married?
- Are you still fully committed to our relationship?
- Is this just a ‘get out’ clause?
These questions, and others like them, can hopefully be addressed as follows:
- A prenuptial agreement is a sensible, forward-thinking approach to our forthcoming lives which will allow us to be in agreement about our future and not to be held fully under the control of the family law courts should our marriage fail.
- Of course I still love you, but we should reasonably protect our future lives now. By setting out our financial obligations and commitments at this point, we can both understand where we are in the relationship currently.
- Yes, I still want to get married, but it is a good idea to be realistic and protect ourselves should the worst happen.
- Asking for a pre-nup does not indicate a lack of commitment, in fact it illustrates possibly the best example of commitment to each other as it shows we are thinking towards the future and want to offer each other protection of our best interests.
- A prenuptial agreement is definitely not a ‘get out’ clause. Nothing in a pre-nup can facilitate an ending of the relationship, it merely serves as an illustration of what we want should the marriage end and it will act as signification to the courts and our family lawyers that we have already made decisions in this respect.
It may be prudent to add that a court will not adhere to any pre-nup which has not conformed to certain legal formalities and that both parties must receive independent legal advice prior to signing any agreement.
Prenuptial agreements at Healys LLP
For clear and astute guidance in the drafting of prenuptial agreements Healys family lawyers in Brighton and London are here to offer direction for clients who wish to understand more about marital property agreements.
If you wish to speak to one of our family lawyers in Brighton please call 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively the family law team in London can be reached on 020 7822 4000. We look forward to helping you.