05 March 2014
B P Collins’ divorce lawyer welcomes new pre-nup proposals
Sue Andrews, a leading divorce lawyer at Buckinghamshire solicitors B P Collins, has welcomed the Law Commission’s recent recommendation that pre and post-nuptial agreements should be enforceable contracts.
Andrews, who has more than 30 years’ experience in family law and has handled a number of high profile divorce cases, has long been an advocate of such agreements. She says the move is likely to prove especially popular with couples about to embark on a second or third marriage, and who want to ensure they safeguard assets to pass on to their children.
“If you’re planning to get married, then it’s really important to take specialist legal advice as early as possible,” said Andrews.
“If people have had a difficult divorce the first time around, they often say they won’t remarry. With the new law in place they may be more encouraged to take the plunge again in the knowledge that they can seek to protect their assets in the longer term.
“For an agreement to be enforced however, they must ensure all the necessary conditions are met and a proper evaluation of needs is carried out, which is why consulting an experienced family lawyer is essential.”
Andrews says many couples shy away from making such agreements because they feel it is “unromantic” and, because the subject is difficult to raise, arrangements are often made late in the day.
“I would like to see pre-nuptial arrangements becoming as commonplace as buying an engagement ring, they should be seen as another step on the way towards being married,” she continued.
“I’m not predicting a rush of people opting to put agreements in place, but if these recommendations are adopted, I hope they will encourage couples to see having a pre-nuptial agreement as completely normal.”
Although for some time judges have given weight to such agreements, the Law Commission proposals would put their status beyond doubt, provided a number of conditions are met.
These include that both partners must have legal advice, they must have disclosed all relevant information about their finances, and any pre-nuptial agreement must also have been made at least 28 days before the wedding or civil partnership.
The Government will now consider the Law Commission’s recommendations.