A pre-nuptial agreement (commonly known as a ‘pre-nup’) is made prior to marriage and indicates what is to happen to your assets should your relationship break down.
There is a misconception that pre-nuptial agreements are only for the rich and famous. However, anyone can enter into a pre-nuptial agreement if they wish and it is a good idea to consider what assets you have prior to marriage. Pre-nuptial agreements can reduce conflict with your partner and assist in preparing for the future should your marriage end. A pre-nuptial agreement may also prevent lengthy and costly Court Proceedings in relation to financial disputes should the marriage end in Divorce.
Although pre-nuptial agreements are not completely binding, the Courts take a persuasive approach to pre-nuptial agreements if entered into correctly:
- Independent legal advice must be provided to both parties
- Both parties must enter into full and frank financial disclosure of their assets and liabilities
- The pre-nuptial agreement must be signed in advance of the wedding (at least 28 days prior)
- Both parties must enter into the pre-nuptial agreement freely without pressure
- Both parties and any children must be taken into account
Ensuring that the pre-nuptial agreement is fair is the fundamental basis to the Court considering and upholding the document.
Couples should take into account the time of exchanging financial disclosure and drafting the pre-nuptial agreement and therefore seek independent legal advice sooner rather than later.
Please contact our family department at one of our offices if you have any questions in relation to entering into a pre-nuptial agreement or any other family law matter.