27 February, 2014
The Law Commission has today recommended that Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements should be legally binding as it will make it easier for couples to manage their finances should they subsequently separate. Clear guidance has been set out that any agreement would have to meet people's needs, including somewhere to live, money to live on and any children of the relationship.
The Commission also has to set out certain conditions to ensure that any marital agreement is binding. These include that both partners must have had Independent Legal Advice, both parties must have disclosed all relevant information about their finances and any agreement must be entered into at least 28 days before the actual Wedding or Civil Partnership.
Judith Wright, Family Solicitor at Forbes comments, "This recommendation seeks to enshrine the status of pre-nups in legislation and should give people confidence that agreements will be upheld in the event of a separation. This will be particularly popular with those who are considering a second marriage and who, understandably, wish to protect their property for their children from their first marriage."
Making Prenuptial agreements legally binding would bring England and Wales in line with the USA, Australia and many parts of Europe where this is already law. English Courts have traditionally ignored Prenuptial Agreements and instead have tried to divide a couple's asset on merit and it is hoped that this suggested change would ensure a lot more certainty and predictability.