Alright I am not much of a celebrity watcher – my life is far too busy to be concerned about what the rich and famous are up to! I did, however, read (only because there was a Family Law element to the story!) that Mariah Carey (the singer (I know who she is!)) is marrying James Packer (the Aussie billionaire (I don’t know who he is!)) but the wedding is being delayed by the Pre-Nuptial Agreement (PNA).
A PNA is an agreement between couples who intend to marry that details financial support during the marriage and what happens to the assets if the marriage breaks down. For many, it is still seen as unromantic – after all, everyone thinks their marriage will last – right? However, even though such agreements in England and Wales are still not legally binding, they are and continue to be useful in protecting assets if the marriage breaks down, provided they are drafted correctly.
Upon divorce proceedings, a PNA has to be taken into account, and if reviewed regularly where circumstances change, it is more likely that it will be upheld by the court.
You have to make sure that:
1. The PNA is recorded in writing as a Deed.
2. It covers the needs of the parties and any children.
3. Each party has taken separate independent legal advice.
4. Full and frank disclosure of each party’s income, property, capital, pensions and debts.
5. It is made in sufficient time (at least 28 days before the wedding) to combat any suggestion there was pressure to enter into the agreement.
PNAs are not just for the rich and famous – yes, they may have substantially more assets to protect, but everything has to be put into perspective – you too will have your own assets to protect (whatever the value), such as family inheritances or assets built up before the marriage. You should also consider a PNA if you are remarrying or getting married later in life.
If you are married but want to protect assets, then as an alternative, you can draw up a Post-Nuptial Agreement.
Making financial decisions before the breakdown of a marriage can save you considerable heartache and expense in subsequent divorce proceedings.
Anthony Jones is Head of Family Law and is a Resolution Accredited Specialist. For more information or a second opinion, please contact him on 0161 641 4555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org