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Do you have a Family Business and Getting Married?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

The coronavirus is putting a lot of gatherings on hold, including weddings which is forcing a lot of couples to postpone their original wedding date and rethink plans.

Whilst waiting for your wedding day to arrive it maybe a good idea to consider if you need a pre-nuptial agreement? You may have pre-acquired wealth, such as a family business that needs protecting.

If steps are not taken to try and protect a business, many business owners remain unaware that their spouse may be entitled to some share in their company on divorce, even if they have not been involved in the day-to-day running of the company. The probability of this situation increases with the length of marriage, availability and disparity in their other financial resources.

In law, a pre-nuptial agreement is not automatically binding on the Court. So what’s the point? The fairness of upholding an agreement (or part of it) will be considered on a case by case basis. The needs of the parties continue to be the trump card, albeit a less generously interpreted trump card if there is a properly executed pre-nuptial agreement in place.
The Court will attach more weight to an agreement if various formalities have been complied with at the drafting stage, and if it has been entered into freely; with a full appreciation of its implications.

Obtaining independent legal advice is a must and the agreement must be fair, with the needs of any children being met and the needs of any potential children considered; or at least a mechanism put in place to review the agreement. If not, this is likely to be the single greatest factor resulting in a pre-nuptial agreement failing. There are also other qualifying formalities, so having one drawn up properly, by an expert, is vital.

There is much sway for the validity and enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements to be enshrined in statute, because the current situation can sometimes create uncertainty. Getting legal advice is therefore essential.

The message for now is, if you have a business or other assets to protect and your future spouse is willing: enter into a pre-nuptial agreement before you get married. Not having one could result in a final order being made on divorce, that costs you your assets and wealth that you had before you got married.

If you are thinking about having a pre-nuptial agreement and would like some more information please contact The Family team at Wilson Browne.

We can have an initial, general and free of charge conversation to discuss whether a pre-nuptial agreement is likely to be right for you.