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In recent years family lawyers have reported that there has been an increasing demand for prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Bristol family law partner, Nicola Walker confirms that she has a regular stream of clients who wish to enter into prenuptial agreements before they marry and also use post-nuptial agreements as part of their private wealth planning during the course of their marriage.

Traditionally, pre-nuptial agreements have been considered un-romantic. But given that no two couples are the same, the ever growing entrepreneurial culture in the UK, and increasingly complex financial situations, it is now considered an essential part of sensible wealth planning.

Prenuptial agreements are particularly popular with those entering into second marriages or where they have children from previous relationships. Many couples have their own individual businesses and wish to keep them separate, even if they have some joint matrimonial finances.

There are many different reasons why people consider taking control of their finances by drafting a prenuptial agreement. Ultimately, this pragmatic approach ensures that in the sad event that the marriage comes to an end, there is no uncertainty about the division of assets. Particularly those that haven’t been accrued as a result of joint matrimonial endeavours.

Nicola agrees that they are a sensible step for couples to take, and maintains that, contrary to popular belief, they actually demonstrate an openness and balance in a relationship.

Recent case law on prenuptial agreements has meant that they are now very robust, and can give couples a high degree of confidence that in the event of separation that they are reliable. Although Courts retain a discretion of determining whether a prenuptial agreement should be relied upon, with good legal advice, and adherence to certain principles, then pre nuptial agreements can form an integral part of financial planning for the future.

It is essential if considering a prenuptial agreement that both parties make the decision to enter into one, well in advance of any wedding. Also, that each party appoints their own separate lawyers to advise them on the contents and drafting of the pre nuptial agreement.

It is helpful for couples if they have considered in advance what they want to achieve. Lawyers can help couples to be extremely creative and constructive in the way that pre nuptial agreements are put together so that they not only provide protection in the event of separation, but set clear foundations for how the couple will run finances moving forward.

It is now quite common for couples to enter into post-nuptial agreements. They can also be used to compliment tax and inheritance planning arrangements, proving useful, for example, if other family members are gifting sums of money, property or business interests to one party in the marriage or if parties enter into tax planning arrangements and are setting up trusts.

Our Bristol team are experienced with the issues involved for couples in their financial planning, and particularly in relation to prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements. In fact, as part of one of the largest private wealth firms in the UK, there is very little we can’t help you with.

Please do get in touch with Nicola or her team if you’d like any further information.

Published: 30 January 2017


Winter 2017

Key Contact

Nicola Walker