A Pre-Nup Update

The Law Commission has now released its report into the making of pre-nuptial agreements legally enforceable in UK law.

The report – Matrimonial Property Needs and Agreements – recommends that legislation be enacted to introduce qualifying “nuptial agreements”. For the first time such pre-marriage agreements would be considered enforceable contracts in UK law and therefore need not be subject to the scrutiny of the court when parties divorce.

It is understood that in order to be a “qualifying nuptial agreement” a number of procedural safeguards will need to be considered. Whether this will give parties the ability to form such agreements themselves and for those agreement to be “qualifying nuptial agreements” it still to be seen. It seems the proposals do intend for best practice to include recourse to legal advice to ensure these safeguards are given the proper regard.

Even qualifying agreements could not however be used to contract out of meeting the financial needs of each party and any children.

The report has received a generally warm reception from family practitioners who see merit in streamlining procedure, especially in light of recent legal aid cuts. The proposals stop somewhat short of pre-nuptial agreements being binding per se and the protection of basic needs provides a safety net to the parties as well as for any children of the marriage.

Find the full report here

Chris Lloyd-Smith

Associate Solicitor/Family Mediator