In many countries the concept of a marriage contract or pre-nuptial agreement is relatively settled. It is not unusual for couples to put this in place prior to getting married. In England this has been something of a taboo subject. In practice it is eminently sensible to have an agreement in place when a couple is on good terms. In most cases, this can be signed and stored away without needing further consideration. If there is a breakdown of the marriage they can be very helpful in reaching a quicker settlement without incurring huge legal fees.
Historically, the courts in England and Wales have not acknowledged pre-nuptial agreements. However, the law here has developed following the Supreme Court decision in Radmacher v Granatino in October 2010. The overriding position now is that the agreement will be upheld by the court provided it is fair.
The Court and the Law Commission have set out a number of considerations in order to determine whether the agreement is fair. These are largely around the process which is followed in putting the agreement in place.
We can advise on the steps you need to follow in order to ensure the fairness of an agreement and can draft a pre-nuptial agreement for you. It is extremely important that work starts on this well before the date of your marriage as this is a key aspect of the fairness test.
For further information please contact Graeme Perry.