What The Law Commission Says About Prenups

28 February, 2014

This week saw the Law Commission published its recommendations on nuptial agreements. The report recommended legislation making, what would be called “qualifying nuptial agreements”. These could be made before or after marriage or civil partnership and be enforceable much like a contract. The idea is to give more power to couples to decide in advance of a future divorce how their property will or will not be shared, potentially without having the terms of their agreement scrutinised by the court.

Qualifying nuptial agreements would need to be entered into fairly with each party to the marriage disclosing their financial circumstances to the other and receiving their own legal advice.

However, the most important safeguard would be that qualifying nuptial agreements will not be able to be used by one party to force the other to accept less money than they need for themselves and any children of the family. So an agreement which leaves one spouse without reasonable income or housing could be rejected by the court.

Alex Davies, partner and head of the family law team at Cripps Pemberton Greenish welcomes the new proposals. He says “If approved by parliament, the Law Commission’s proposals will change the law radically by bringing much greater certainty for many couples getting married. We have seen a huge rise in enquiries for nuptial agreements in recent years as those entering marriage or civil partnerships understandably wish to protect their wealth in case the worst happens and their marriage breaks down.”