The excitement over planning a wedding can take over the whole family, but prudent brides and grooms should not overlook the financial implications of their future nuptials.
Helen Morgan, head of family law at Mooney Everett Solicitors in Ormskirk, points out:
‘Busy professionals, company directors and landowners can protect themselves from a range of risks in their businesses. However, when it comes to marriage, good financial sense is often forgotten.’
With a one-in-three chance of a marriage ending in divorce, there is a possibility that you could lose a sizable stake of your assets, land, inherited wealth or business. Whether or not your spouse has played an active role in building it up, they may be entitled to a share of your net-worth, particularly in the event of a lengthy marriage or civil partnership breaking down.
The approach of the courts is to determine a fair arrangement under the principle of sharing, based on the needs of each person. The courts are gender neutral. Each person’s contributions to the family are taken into account, including financial contribution as well as raising a family. This even takes account of where one has made an economic sacrifice by giving up a career to support their entrepreneurial spouse.
Every landowner, business owner, director or partner, or person who brings wealth into the marriage or civil partnership should have a prenuptial or pre-partnership agreement drawn up before getting married or entering a civil partnership. This can also cover situations where one person is wealthier than another, and wishes to protect that from the outset.
A prenuptial or a pre-partnership agreement is designed to protect your financial interests. Setting out how you would arrange your finances in the event of relationship breakdown will provide peace of mind. Under the present laws in England and Wales, a correctly drawn-up agreement is one of the initial factors that a court would consider in the event of separation.
The agreement should also be flexible and anticipate any potential change in circumstances, for example the birth of children or receipt of inheritance.
The small cost of a prenuptial agreement is easily outweighed by the potential cost of a disputed divorce, which has to go to court to be settled.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.