It’s unromantic. It’s a bit negative. But if your children have assets, a pre-nup might be the best wedding present you could give them should the marriage or civil partnership not stand the test of time.
When your child enters into a marriage, their assets – savings, property, etc – usually becomes shared with their new spouse. If the marriage breaks down, all shared assets will be divided equally, subject to the particular circumstances of the marriage. Often this is completely fair if both partners enter a marriage with similar levels of assets and contribute to the marriage. But sometimes, life isn’t that straightforward.
Here are some reasons, why you might want to consider a pre-nup:
- To clarify how the parties will conduct their financial affairs during the marriage, to enable the couple (especially the financially weaker party) to have transparency at the start of the marriage. This may also assist the financially weaker party to feel financially secure within the marriage
- To provide certainty for couples who wish to formally agree how their assets should be divided if they later separate or divorce
- To protect assets (such as inherited wealth or pre-marital property) from a later financial claim
- To limit scope for uncertain, emotionally draining and financially costly court proceedings in the event of the future breakdown of the marriage.
- Pre-nups are important if you have children from a previous relationship that you want to support
- You can even decide what would happen to any pets
There are also other reasons for considering a pre-nup:
- Pre-nups allows for both parties to enter a marriage being open and honest about their affairs and what assets they have. A surprisingly large number of couples don’t talk about money before they wed; this is a great opportunity to do so. It might even put the marriage on a more stable basis
- Should a marriage break down, there is a roadmap of what happens next. Better to have that roadmap outlined when a couple are on speaking terms and friendly than when life is acrimonious and difficult
- This in turn reduces cost should a divorce take place. If there is a prenup outlining what assets will be split, many couples can follow that plan and reduce legal disputes. Finances are usually the most difficult aspect of any divorce. So why not try and avoid that from the start?
Whilst the court will have regard to a properly drafted pre-nup, they are still not legally binding in English Law. It is vitally important that both parties seek independent legal advice, so as to make the agreement as fair as possible and give it the best chance of success in the event of a breakdown of the marriage.
A pre-nup might sound unexciting, overly-practical and pessimistic. But after the dinner plates have cracked, and the towels gone a bit thin, a pre-nup will still stand and could be the best wedding present you could give.
More on Pre-nups:
Pre and Post-nuptial Agreements:
27 April 2023