With the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markel only hours away, wedding fever is high. Planning the big day is a huge focus for many brides and grooms, with cakes, venues, vows, rings, flowers, attendants, and, of course, the dress all being carefully considered and discussed. Love, romance and dreams are very much at the forefront of the minds of the couple, their family and friends.
However, what about more practical issues, such as protecting their personal assets? There are many reasons why couples should have a serious discussion about their individual assets and how they should be shared (or not, as the case may be) should they go their separate ways in the future. Older people who have accumulated property, shares or other wealth during their lifetime or who are marrying for the second, or perhaps third, time have a good reason to ensure that they won’t be left poorer if the worst should happen. Couples where one – or perhaps both – has a significant amount of family wealth, accrued over many generations, or where they are both likely to be very successful in their careers may wish to make sure that they will reap the financial benefits of their own hard work. Even couples who don’t have a significant amount of money may wish to consider making sure that if one of them contributes a much larger amount towards a deposit on a house, the deposit will be returned in full to the payer should they separate at some point in the future.
A pre-nuptial agreement would put into place a carefully considered agreement between the parties in respect of their individual assets and wealth. Pre-nuptial agreements are not necessarily legally binding; however, following the Radmacher v Granatino case in 2010 the Supreme Court held, by an eight to one majority, that courts should fully consider upholding a pre-nuptial agreement providing that it has been freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its consequences – unless circumstances had changed enough to make the pre-nuptial agreement unfair to one or both parties.
It is important that if a couple are considering a pre-nuptial agreement, they both seek their own independent legal advice and take their time before signing, considering carefully all the clauses the implications of the agreement.
While a pre-nuptial agreement may be viewed as unromantic and a sign that the couple are not wholly committed to making the marriage work; they do provide a solid, equal base from which the newly married couple can begin their married life – which we would hope to be a long and happy one.
So, although Harry and Meghan are reportedly not signing a pre-nuptial agreement, for many others it is likely to be a worthwhile idea. Oratto has a number of member lawyers who are experienced in creating pre-nuptial agreements and who can help you ensure that the document accurately reflects your expectations and interests in the event of a divorce. Call us today, and we can help connect you with the right lawyer for you.