The benefits of a pre-nuptial agreement

Victoria Melling - KBL Solicitors

Why are pre-nuptial agreements becoming increasingly popular? KBL’s divorce and family law specialist, Victoria Melling explains to Libby Faulkner of Live Ribble Valley Magazine.

 As a partner and Head of Family Law at KBL Solicitors, Victoria Melling is also a Resolution accredited family lawyer with a particular specialism in advanced financial provision following separation and/or divorce.

Why might someone be inclined to take out a pre-nuptial agreement?

It allows parties to have control over what would happen in the event of their separation and if someone wishes to protect assets, for example, if one person has significantly larger assets than the other, it can be of great benefit. They can also be very important if it is either party’s second or third marriage, so that any previous dependants can be protected.

Some people may see this kind of agreement as unromantic and too much of a business-like approach, would you agree?

I like to think that it’s going into marriage with the right attitude, allowing both parties to be fully open and honest with one another. One of the most important steps toward upholding a pre-nuptial agreement is that there has been an exchange of full and frank disclosure between the couple, so that each party is fully aware of the financial position of the other party.

Giving up rights to potential inheritance should a partner die is something that can put people off drafting a pre-nup, is this a downside?

It may put some people off but on the other hand it may encourage more people to do it. If a family has a higher amount of wealth on one side they may want the confirmation that those assets will be distributed as they choose if they die.  This ties in with the importance of taking legal advice on the drafting of a Will in addition to the Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

Is there a time stamp on the decision to draft a pre-nup?

As soon as someone starts thinking about getting married, at the same time they should begin to consider a pre-nuptial agreement. The stress of the pre-nup is not something a bride or groom wants looming over them   close to the wedding. It’s always better to get legal advice and the Pre-Nuptial Agreement drafted well in advance of the actual wedding. The Law Commission recommends they should not be signed within 28 days of a marriage. This is very important because the closer the agreement is signed to the wedding then the more risk there is of one party claiming they were put under duress to sign it which could render the Pre-Nuptial Agreement invalid.

What would you say the benefits are of getting the right advice, from a team like yours at KBL?

The experience we have in drafting them is key. For  a pre-nuptial agreement to be upheld in court it is vital that it’s drafted properly and accompanied by the right independent legal advice. I have experience in dealing with Pre-Nups from high net-worth cases to smaller cases as everyone needs the same level of protection and control.

Can prospective clients with other legal needs find the help they need at KBL?

Here at KBL we have the expertise to deal with many other issues that may arise in the drafting of a pre-nuptial agreement.  For example, we have an excellent commercial team who are able to assist with any business issues, a property team to ensure correct legal and beneficial ownership of any properties and a wills and probate department to accommodate administration of assets in the event of death.  In short we can offer a full service under one roof to meet whatever clients’ interests or needs may be.