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Second marriage? Put a pre-nup on your wedding list

More people than ever before are getting married for a second or even third time – and as a result, there has been a significant increase in couples who want the security of a pre-nuptial agreement before they tie the knot.

An astonishing 40 per cent of all weddings in the UK are second or subsequent marriages – that’s around 100,000 people a year.

Of course, many of these are older people with more assets as a result, including property, savings, investments, pensions and businesses not to mention children.

In short, a second or third marriage is always more complicated than a first which is where pre-nuptial agreements, commonly known as pre-nups, come in.

What protection can a pre-nup give?

A pre-nup gives a couple the chance to agree on the details of what should happen to their property and assets, and how any children should be provided for, if the relationship breaks down.

Without a pre-nup agreement, assets are generally divided equally between both parties and any disagreements which then ensue are often costly and time consuming.

Every pre-nup, whether ahead of a marriage or civil partnership, is tailor-made for the couple involved providing certainty and security for the future and avoiding increased legal fees if they split up.

Although not legally binding, these agreements are being given more and more weight by divorce courts as long as they are seen as having been properly drafted and fair to both parties.

Click here to read about a court case we reported on recently which illustrates just how important this is.

Making a Strong Pre-nuptial Agreement

It is vital to make sure that any pre-nuptial agreement is as likely to be upheld by the court as possible by:

  • Taking independent legal advice and disclosing fully all assets and income to each other;
  • Signing it at least 21 days before you get married and ideally with at least a couple of months to spare so you have time to take legal advice and consider the contents carefully first;
  • Ensuring it is fair by giving sufficient thought and consideration, with the help of your solicitor, to the needs of your partner and any future children. For example, a pre-nup which leaves one party with virtually nothing and the other comfortably off, or does not make provision for children, is highly unlikely to be seen as reasonable;
  • Keeping your pre-nuptial agreement current. Once drawn up and signed, this means reviewing it regularly – at least every five years and automatically on the birth of any children.

For more information, please see our Legal Guide: What is a pre-nuptial agreement and should we make one?

For help and legal advice on this area of the law, please contact our Family and Divorce team or pop into one of our 11 local offices

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