Legal Issues on Divorce

Reasons to Consider Entering into a Prenuptial Agreement

Reasons to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement 

Prenuptial agreements, often known as prenups, are not (yet) legally binding in the UK, but they are legally relevant. Based on a 2010 ruling, divorce courts will accept prenups as valid, provided that both parties entered them willingly and understood their implications, unless there is a particular reason why it would be unreasonable to enforce them in any particular situation. As the prenup is between the two individuals entering a marriage/civil partnership, it is entirely distinct from the obligation to support any children arising from the union.


Prenups have moved out of the celebrity world and into the mainstream

Celebrity prenups (or the lack thereof) have long been fodder for the gossip columns but over recent years they have moved into the world the rest of us live in. While they are commonly associated with situations in which couples have widely different financial values, they can also be used to draw lines in the sand in other situations, for example to highlight anything one of the parties considers a personal possession which they would like to keep in the event of a divorce/dissolution. Setting this out up front can be easier than trying to reach an agreement in the potentially heated atmosphere of a couple parting ways.


Realistically, failure is an option

Around one third of marriages end in divorce, which means that even though the odds of success are still on your side, the odds of failure are high enough to deserve to be taken seriously. Even though the UK has yet to implement the concept of “no faults divorce” in the real world, divorce/dissolution can come about for reasons which have nothing to do with fault.

People make mistakes and sometimes couples can agree amicably that their marriage was one of them and move on in a respectful manner. This is particularly beneficial if the split comes after the arrival of children.


Mediation and legal advice are the road to success

In principle, mediation can take place before or after a legal agreement has been drawn up. In practice, it probably helps to have it first and keep open the option of further mediation afterwards if need be. Mediation is simply a process by which couples have a full and open discussion of their situation and expectations, which is facilitated by a mediator.

The mediator’s role is to keep the discussion on topic and to help both parties to express themselves and to learn to understand each other’s views until finally they reach a place of agreement, which the mediator then converts into a memo of understanding, which can then be given to the solicitors acting for the respective individuals.

This makes it easier for the solicitor drawing up the prenup to create a document which accurately reflects their client’s wishes and for the solicitor acting on behalf of the other party to analyse the agreement and ensure that it is appropriate for their client. While prenups are like insurance in the sense that they are a product you buy in the hope that you are never going to use them, just like insurance, it can be very helpful to know that you are covered if the need arises.

Fletcher Day are a full service law firm based in Mayfair, London. There team of family law solicitors in London can advise on a range of matters relating to family law including divorce, prenuptial agreements, civil partnerships and separation agreements.



Family Law and Brexit – What could it all mean?

The British public have spoken and they have made the decision to leave the EU but the ramifications of that decision is still yet unknown but how will it affect family law?

A recent report stated how important the EU laws are on UK family laws but this is all likely to change now the UK is leaving the EU. The courts are already handling a high volume of cases and the departure could make it difficult for the courts to cope even further. Legal aid has been reduced and the courts are going through structural changes which mean that problems could lie ahead.

Many aspects of family law would be affected by the decision. The divorce process is the same throughout the EU and it has been a success but a new UK law would have to be put in place. Suggestions have been made that the new law should be similar to the EU law.

The EU also regulates maintenance proceedings and international child law would also be affected. However, there could be a benefit to the UK leave the EU when it comes to marital agreements because the EU has imposed marital agreements without seeking independent legal advice which has often cause confusion. Therefore, the decision to leave could result in proposals that were put forward in 2014 being implemented and this would lead to England and Wales supporting the importance of seeking independent legal advice as a method of dealing with other issues.

While future implications of leaving the EU are unknown, Resolution has stated that there is no doubt that the future is looking uncertain. Just in the same way as other areas of legislation, family law in the UK is naturally linked to that in other jurisdictions.

The uniformed jurisdictional rules put forward by Brussels for divorce proceedings and maintenance agreements are likely to change but how it will change is still unknown. Any changes to family law are likely to be postponed as the government is unlikely to make it a priority of theirs.

The financial markets have taken a short term hit since the decision was made but if this becomes a more prolonged issue then this will cause problems for family finance. When it comes to divorce and financial problems, all of this will have to be taken into account.

Regardless of the outcome, Resolution has made it clear that they will co-operate with the government as well as others to help guide family justice as well as offer the support required by members. They will also offer relevant information as well as resources in order to help them handle the way in which things map out following the referendum.

Obviously, the impact of Brexit is unknown but the UK could take up to two years to leave the EU. Therefore, it could be important for the UK government to reflect on the result and how it can achieve the result.

Author Bio: Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at  K J Smith Solicitors who are specialists in family law, experienced in all matters relating to divorce, civil partnerships, cohabitation disputes and collaborative law.

Modern Reasons to Get a Prenuptial Agreement

When prenups first became popular, they were often seen as a weapon by which wealthy spouses took advantage of less sophisticated (and less wealthy) partners. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that so many people today have an instinctively negative reaction when they hear the term “prenuptial agreement.” To make it worse, it seems like every week we are hearing about another messy divorces amongst celebrities and their high-stake prenups. As  mentioned in Wendi Schuller’s  new book, The Global Guide to Divorce, prenups can be crucial to your “happily ever after”, whether you stay married or get a divorce.

The Global Guide to Divorce also relays that marriage and divorce is evolving with the times. Modern-day marriage is not only a romantic relationship, but is also a business partnership. In fact, marriage throughout history has been an arrangement of sharing property, while the romantic aspect of marriage is a relatively modern development. Similar to a true business partnership, prenuptial agreements are used to protect both spouses.

The divorce attorneys in Scottsdale suggest prenups for people in their 30s or older with any substantial assets, children or a former spouse. Prenuptial agreements are particularly useful for people who are entering into a second marriage. In the case of remarriage, one or both spouses may already have significant assets, and may want to arrange that family members from the first marriage inherit property and assets.

Modern-day couples are obtaining prenups for five main reasons:

  1. Spouses who have children from a prior marriage are often concerned about their future financial protection. A prenuptial agreement can be used to ensure your children (and your spouse) will be taken care of as you wish, if something happens to you.
  2. A prenuptial agreement can protect against joint liability on individual debts. For example, if a spouse owns a small business and personally guarantees loans, a prenup can limit legal responsibility and preserve assets for both of the spouses in the marriage.
  3. If one spouse co-owns a business, a clear succession plan is often necessary to obtain financing. A prenup can make running the business easier as well as clarify what happens if the business owner dies.
  4. By clearly showing how assets will be titled during the marriage, a prenup can facilitate gift and estate tax planning.
  5. Although laws are in place to protect inherited property at the moment, they can always be challenged or changed. Address any inherited property beforehand, in a prenuptial agreement. You’d hate to see your grandparent’s beach home just because your spouse is entitled to half of it.

Experts believe that prenups will become more socially acceptable in the coming years. Both men and women will be more interested in safeguarding their future by beginning their marriage with a prenuptial agreement in place.

Amanda Rumore, author of this article, is a family and parenting expert. She has worked throughout the US in marketing and public relations for a variety of industries, as well as worked for various media outlets. Amanda currently resides in Phoenix, AZ., where she is a freelance writer.