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Family Law

Prenuptial Agreements

A Pre-Nuptial Agreement (PNA) is a contract made between a couple in advance of their marriage. This sets out who owns what and what will happen with anything which is acquired during the marriage. If the marriage ends the PNA will set out what is to happen. In the same way that one might have insurance for life, buildings or contents, a PNA is insurance for something one hopes will never happen. If it is ever needed you will be glad that you have one, and it will inevitably save a lot of money and anguish further down the line when things may already be tough enough.

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There are various different types of PNA depending upon what you wish to achieve. Someone may wish to “ring-fence” inheritance so that it remains in the family for generations to come. People often agree to retain the assets that they have each acquired before the marriage and make an agreement about how what they acquire in the marriage will be owned.  It is perfectly possible to have this flexibility with part being joint property, or money and part being owned by one person only.

Important things to know:

  • So that the PNA is effective, each of the couple has to set out what they currently own.
  • One lawyer cannot act for one couple, there has to be two lawyers. Again, this makes the PNA effective so that it cannot be challenged in the future. Each lawyer will make sure each person understands what is being included in the PNA.
  • The PNA has to be set up well in advance. There must be no hint that the PNA was held over someone’s head at the last minute. We suggest you contact us as soon as possible so the document can be finalised not later than 28 days before the wedding. This also means you can get on with the important arrangements for the wedding.
  • Even when the PNA is prepared with infinite care, it cannot prevent an application to the court if there ever is a divorce. However, if the PNA is there the court will look at it first and will ask why the PNA should not be followed – this is an important advantage. What you agreed when you married is recorded and available in a clear document for the court to consider; increasingly the court follow what is said in the agreement.

How this can work without stress

We know that you need your PNA to be finalised with as little stress as possible. The first thing we will do is meet with you and ask you to explain what has been agreed, and what remains to be agreed. We will provide you with advice and agree with you the best way to complete the PNA without upset. We may recommend that we all meet in a round table meeting. We will encourage you to talk to each other, rather than ping pong letters between solicitors.

We will pick up the phone to talk to the other lawyer. You always have the last say as to what will happen. We will not write or say anything on your behalf without your authority.

What next?

Our family solicitors and lawyers are based across South London in our Crystal PalaceBromley and West Wickham offices. Telephone and video appointments are also available.

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If you would like to discuss our family law services or book an appointment with us, please get in touch, or request a callback.

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