Pre nuptial agreements – worth paying for?
I am asked this question frequently. The court has such a wide discretion when making an order dividing assets. In my view, it’s a small price to pay for some control over your wealth if the marriage comes to an end. If you have a large portfolio, it could mean hundreds of thousands being lost to the Judge exercising his discretion in favour of your spouse. Are pre nuptial agreements legally binding? The answer is yes, if they have been constructed correctly. You need to be frank about your financial position and reach an agreement with the benefit of independent legal advice.
When asked to order how the assets should be divided, the court should consider several factors including any prior agreement reached between the parties. This is where the prenuptial agreement comes in. If the agreement was reached fairly, reviewed upon change of financial circumstances and drafted correctly by a good family law solicitor, it is likely that the court will uphold it. If you have pre marital wealth or if you have wealth that you have agreed will remain with you, a prenuptial agreement will give you the best chance of preserving it.
The legal costs of a prenuptial agreement may be anything from £1,000 to £5,000 depending on the amount of assets you have. You then have the cost of reviewing the agreement say every 5 years at least. The cost of that review depends on whether things have changed much. It is still a small price to pay when the alternative is months of expensive litigation and then an order giving away hundreds and thousands from your wealth.
A pre nuptial agreement is sensible wealth management. (DIY Pre-nuptial agreements don’t work!)