The Law Commission has recommended to the Government that ‘qualifying nuptial arrangements,’ such as pre-nuptial or pre-marital agreements, should be legally binding in England and Wales.
At present in England and Wales, couples that intend to marry but wish to regulate their financial affairs in the event of separation and divorce can enter into a pre-nuptial agreement. However, those couples face uncertainty over whether their pre-nuptial agreement would be upheld by a court in England and Wales. The Law Commission propose that in future, all qualifying nuptial agreements should be upheld provided certain safeguards are met. Those safeguards are:
- The agreement must be contractually valid and enforceable.
- The agreement must be signed by the parties and witnessed as a deed.
- The agreement must contain a statement signed by each party that they understand that the agreement will restrict the court’s discretion to make financial orders.
- The agreement must be made at least 28 days before the parties marry or enter into a civil partnership.
- At the time the agreement is formed both parties must have received relevant information about the other party’s finances and independent legal advice upon the contents/implications of the agreement.
The proposals have been widely recommended by family lawyers and organisations such as Resolution. For many, they are long overdue.
Our Family Department is always ready to offer advice upon pre-marital agreements. We continue to offer a 30 minute free appointment to all new clients. If you are contemplating such an agreement, please get in touch.