Since January is the time for making resolutions and planning for the year ahead, couples often use the festive period to re-evaluate their marriage and future. Therefore, traditionally, January is a busy month for the filing of Divorces. Research shows that divorce related matters are up 30% over the festive period compared to last year suggesting January 2020 will be no different.
We find that most people instruct us in January having contemplated a Divorce for months. Often, married couples with children have agreed they are to separate but stay together for one last Christmas for the sake of the children. Of course, not all couples consciously wait for the festive period to pass before filing for a Divorce and in fact it tends to be the emotional and financial stress of the Christmas holidays that tip a marriage on the rocks over the edge.
Nobody enters into a marriage factoring in Divorce as part of their future plans, however, statistics show that 42% of marriages end in Divorce. With these statistics in mind, if you are thinking about tying the knot then you must carefully consider entering into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement.
A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is an agreement made by a couple before they marry concerning the ownership of their respective assets should the marriage fail. The key points of the current law surrounding Pre-Nuptial Agreements is that the agreement must be entered into freely, the parties must fully understand the implications of the agreement and it must be fair to hold the parties to that agreement in the circumstances prevailing. Provided the Pre-Nuptial Agreement is fundamentally fair and follows the Law Commission recommendations then it has the best chance of being legally binding in the future.
Some of the advantages of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement are: –
Clarity, certainty and transparency- You can make it clear to one another that certain property belongs to you alone and will not be shared during the marriage or on any future divorce. You can agree how your finances will be divided if you later separate or divorce. You will both know at the outset, the value of each other’s assets because you will have provided financial disclosure in the agreement.
Some of the disadvantages of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement are: –
Not legally binding, change in circumstances and unromantic- A Pre-Nuptial Agreement will not necessarily be legally binding as currently the court remains able to make financial orders on the breakdown of a marriage. However, the court is likely to uphold an Agreement if drafted as above. A Pre-nuptial Agreement cannot predict what will happen during the marriage and if there are significant changes, it may lose its relevance. This is a time of you in love and planning your wedding so setting out what will happen to your finances should you separate is rather unromantic.
Krista Enziano is a Solicitor in the Family Department at O’Donnell Solicitors. For more information or a second opinion, please contact her on 01457 761320 or email firstname.lastname@example.org