Nuptial agreements

There has been much debate in recent years over the legality or otherwise of Pre-nuptial Agreements. The primary objection in the past has been on public policy grounds. The main question that arises is how the Courts will approach such an agreement if the relationship breaks down.

In recent case law the Courts have been willing to uphold such agreements in whole or part but each case will very much depend on its own facts, the main consideration being the needs of a party and particularly any children of the family.

Post-nuptial agreements are entered into after a party's marriage or civil partnership and can again be considered by the Courts when a relationship breaks down. The difference here is that the Courts appear to have been more willing to uphold post-nuptial agreements on the basis that a couple should be free to enter into whatever agreement they choose whilst married and on an equal footing. However the Court will consider the same factors as with a pre-nuptial agreement.

There are however further changes in the pipeline as the Law Commission has now produced a report on Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements. They recommend that the law is changed to introduce "qualifying nuptial agreements" which would be enforceable and allow couples to make appropriate arrangements about the financial consequences of their relationship breakdown. The agreement will need to meet certain requirements including the timing of the agreement, disclosure of a couple's financial position and the obtaining of legal advice, amongst others.

We are happy to meet to discuss your requirements and advise on costs, which can include fixed fee arrangements.