How signing a prenup can help to secure your future
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Over the past few years, the number of soon-to-be newlyweds signing prenups has been steadily increasing.
Avoiding the worst of the acrimony from divorce, safeguarding individual as well as shared assets and ensuring the financial freedom of children have all been credited with driving up these figures. Many modern couples view these contracts as a sensible way to strengthen their bond in the face of whatever life brings.
We chat to Emma Morris, family lawyer at Ince in London, who outlined the advantages of signing a prenup.
Q: What are the major benefits of signing a prenup?
A: It is a very sad fact that 41 per cent of marriages in this country end in divorce. The court process of sorting through the finances, discussing custody arrangements and what to do with property can take 12 to 18 months. Luckily, there is a way to avoid these costly and painful procedures, which is to sign a prenup. Not only does it take the sting out of a very difficult stage of life, but it also allows a degree of clarity and a fair division of financial assets.
Prenups ensure that one party is not left penniless whilst the other walks away with everything. However, if one person has brought the vast majority of wealth into a marriage, prenups ensure that the other has enough to rehouse but does not receive the portion that could be gained via the courts if a prenup had not been signed.
Q: What are some of the lesser-known consequences of marriage and divorce?
A: There is often a lack of information given to couples who don’t always realise the full financial impact of marriage, and therefore divorce. Most people think of their earnings and the property they own, but may not be aware that they could be sharing pensions and a whole host of other assets.
Prenups allow you both to arrange your affairs how you wish to, rather than facing unknown challenges in the future. My clients often believe that the process will take a couple of months, when in reality the divorce alone will take around five months. Prenups can remove some of the uncertainty and delays caused by these situations.
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Q: Do these agreements provide lasting legal protection for both sides?
A: Yes, an official legal document provides a clean break and safe assets. Prenups in particular, as long as both parties have disclosed finances honestly, are likely to be upheld. When married partners attempt to break away without legal financial documentation, the worst-case scenario can be that one person comes back for a second chunk of money.
Providing neither person has since married, and in the absence of legal agreements, they may well be able to gain another large portion from their former spouse. Prenups can ensure that these events never take place, and both individuals are protected in court.
Q: How can prenups make dividing assets a fairer, easier process?
A: A married couple can plan for the future far easier by signing a prenup. For example, a court ordered process will not make awards for children unless they are special requirements, such as school fees.
Within a prenup, a couple can immediately agree to set aside funds for their children for schooling, or specify that they would like them to attend a state school. There is a huge amount of flexibility within prenups, not just for decisions regarding children, but for splitting finances as well.
Emma Morris has over 20 years of experience as a solicitor working in the family law sector. As well as advising clients on all aspects of family life work, Emma holds particular expertise in the financial consequences of divorce. Emma, alongside the rest of the team at Ince, can help to ease the pressures of matrimonial legal issues.
To learn more about the advantages of prenups, visit incegd.com or call 020 7481 0010.