Pre-nuptial agreements are likely to become legally enforceable advises Shrewsbury solicitor
21st February 2014
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Pre-nuptial agreements are a less than romantic notion. As the law currently stands, they are not enforceable in this country; however such agreements have proved to be increasingly popular and are very much the norm in certain other parts of the world including parts of the USA.

Peter Flint, senior partner and family solicitor at Shrewsbury firm Lanyon Bowdler comments “Broadly speaking, lawyers specialising in family law are in favour of making Pre-Nuptial Agreements legally binding, as this will result in the couple knowing exactly where they will stand financially in the event of their relationship breaking down, thereby avoiding the emotional and financial stress of bitter Court proceedings.”

In recent times the Courts have been more inclined to take the terms of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement into account when deciding what Financial Provision Orders should be made in divorce proceedings, particularly in cases where each party has had the benefit of independent legal advice; where neither party has been forced by duress into entering the agreement; where each party has disclosed to the other full details of their financial circumstances; and where the terms of the Agreement are considered to be fair and reasonable to each of them.

It is now anticipated that an Act of Parliament will be passed in the near future which will make Pre-Nuptial Agreements legally enforceable.  The main intention behind this is to reduce the Court battles between former partners, which can have a damaging effect on them and any children they may have; and to give a couple the chance to decide in advance of taking their vows how money and property should be divided in the event of an irretrievable breakdown of their relationship.

It is also anticipated that the new law will bring in changes to the concept of spousal maintenance, and that no longer will such payments be “open-ended” (for example, continuing until the receiving spouse remarries), but rather that they will be payable for a limited period of time, to encourage the separating parties to become completely independent of one another sooner rather than later. 

For further advice or information please contact Lanyon Bowdler using the email/web links or call 01743 280281.

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