Following on from my recent article on pre-nuptial agreements (7 February 2014), as predicted a report has been released today by the Law Commission, ‘Matrimonial Property Needs and Agreements’ has recommended the introduction of ‘qualifying nuptial agreements’.
This, if it becomes law, will mean that pre-nuptial agreements, or pre-marital contracts will become legally binding.
Qualifying nuptial agreements would enable married couples and civil partners to make a binding agreement before they marry, which sets out what will happen in the event of a divorce. They can contain information about assets held before and during the marriage and even about how any future assets should be treated. They can also contain information about arrangements for the children from any relationship, but the courts would be only likely to uphold those agreements if they are in the best interests of the children.
There will be various legal requirements such as full and honest disclosure of respective financial positions and consideration of both parties reasonable needs in the event of a divorce. No doubt there will be some time constraints so as to avoid pressure being on one party to sign at the 11th hour and avoid a‘sign here or the marriage is off’ situation.
Another strict requirement will be the need for separate and independent legal advice and for a lawyer to certify to this.
For more information about pre-nuptial agreements or any other related family law issues, please contact a member of our Family team on 01625 442100.