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Preventing Conflicts Not Predicting Divorce : The Purpose of Prenups

There is a common misconception that having a prenuptial agreement sets a precedent that the couple will undoubtedly separate later down the line. However, prenuptial agreements are not about predicting divorce, but about safeguarding against disagreements in the future.

Essentially, prenups can be thought of as financial planning tools that allow couples to set out and define their own terms and conditions when it comes to debt allocation, asset division and financial responsibilities. By doing this, the couple establishes a framework for how these matters should be handled should they ever get divorced. With the help of a prenup, the couple reduces the likelihood of an emotionally exhausting and stressful legal battle should they separate.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement refers to a legal document that is drawn up between a couple in advance of their marriage, outlining how each of their assets will be divided between them should they later divorce. Assets can include property, debts, and income and a prenup provides a framework for how these would be divided in the event that the relationship breaks down in the future.

Unfortunately, this has led to the widespread belief that having a prenup is merely used for gaining an advantage during the ‘inevitable divorce’. This could not be further from the truth, in fact, many professionals would argue that having a prenuptial agreement provides protection in marriage and helps in preventing divorce.

It’s important to note that prenups are not yet legally binding, however, there is evidence to suggest that courts are increasingly taking them into account when dividing up assets during the divorce process.

Benefits of prenuptial agreements

Prenups provide financial security in marriages, helping both parties to protect their assets. Additional benefits include improving communication within the relationship. Having open and honest conversations about finances, expectations, goals and concerns during the drafting process promotes a healthy discourse between couples, as well as improving transparency and understanding between the two individuals.

Also, the process of creating a prenup can aid with constructive conflict resolution as well as compromise, which are both important foundations of a relationship. The financial security provided by a prenup can help mitigate any resentment or anxiety concerning finances and the future, fostering a positive and healthy environment for the relationship to grow.

Do I need legal guidance when drafting a prenup?

When considering a prenuptial agreement, it’s important to have the guidance of an experienced prenuptial agreement solicitor beforehand and during the process of drawing up the prenup. This is because drawing up a prenup can be a relatively complex process for an untrained individual and requires the expertise of an experienced professional.

Unless a prenup is drafted correctly and in line with certain requirements, that document will not be legally considered later if the couple wish to obtain a divorce.

The specific legal requirements that need to be met include:

  • Having the prenuptial agreement drawn up by a qualified family law expert.
  • Both partners seeking independent legal advice.
  • Both partners fully understanding the agreement and agreeing to it willingly.
  • Both partners disclosing all assets and property in full.

Protecting yourself with a prenup

Prenuptial agreements are useful for both preventing conflict and protecting assets, and should not be viewed as a prediction of an inevitable divorce.

These legal documents can serve to encourage practical discussions between partners, improving financial transparency, which can in turn improve trust and contribute to a healthier relationship.

Couples are advised to consider prenups as a proactive legal tool, helping both parties to safeguard their interests.

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