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Pre-Nuptial Agreements in the news

March 11th, 2014

For the last three years I have been advising clients entering into pre-nuptial agreements (known as pre-nups) that they are not legally binding, but that judges are generally taking more notice of them and in some cases, upholding them. We have been awaiting the Law Commission’s report over that time and this has now been received. The report has been generally welcomed by family lawyers and if enacted, it will allow couples to enter into legally binding agreements over the disposal of their assets should their relationship breakdown.

Under the proposed legislation, in order to qualify the agreement must involve no fraud, undue influence or misrepresentation. The parties need to have had legal advice, made disclosure of assets and it needs to be signed no less than 28 days before the wedding. It also needs a statement saying that the parties understand what they are signing and that they are seeking to remove the court’s discretion to make financial orders. It must also provide for the needs of any children.

If the draft bill is enacted it will provide certainty in this area of law and enable couples to make their own arrangements as to what happens should their marriage breakdown. Pre-nups are particularly advisable where financial resources vary greatly. Such agreements are popular in situations where there is a second marriage, particularly if there are children from the first marriage and a desire to preserve their inheritance.

If you are interested in pre-nuptial agreements, please contact Jenny Russell on 01494 773377 or by e-mail at


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