Legally binding pre-nuptial law for couples proposed

The Law Commission have put forward recommendations to make pre and post-nuptial agreements legally binding. This would allow married couples and civil partners to make a binding agreement about how their property or finances should be shared if their relationship breaks down. The Law Commission hopes the proposed law will make it easier for couples to manage their finances after a split. Currently, married couples and civil partners can make pre and post-nuptial agreements but the courts will not always uphold them. However, the Law Commission has set out certain conditions for the marital agreements to be binding, which include:
  • The agreement must be contractually valid (and able to withstand challenge on the basis of undue influence or misrepresentation, for example).
  • The agreement must have been made by deed and must contain a statement signed by both parties that he or she understands that the agreement is a qualifying nuptial agreement that will partially remove the court’s discretion to make financial orders.
  • The agreement must not have been made within the 28 days immediately before the wedding or the celebration of civil partnership.
  • Both parties to the agreement must have received, at the time of the making of the agreement, disclosure of material information about the other party’s financial situation.
  • Both parties must have received legal advice at the time that the agreement was formed.
The law commissioner for property, family and trust law, Prof Elizabeth Cooke said that the changes would give couples “autonomy and control, and make the financial outcome of separation more predictable”. “Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are becoming more commonplace but the courts will not always follow them and lawyers are therefore not able to give clear advice about their effect,” she added. The summary of recommendations by The Law Commission can be viewed here. The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Setfords Solicitors are a national full service law firm, with family law Solicitors in Guildford and across the country.