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To Pre or not to Pre (Nup)

Our People - Loretta Orsi-Barzanti
12 April, 2016

There’s nothing more romantic to discuss with your beloved, than a pre-nuptial agreement!

There’s no easy way to bring this subject up because whatever way you try to look at it, it looks like
(a) you think your partner is after you for your money rather than for love; (b) you love your money more than your partner.

There’s plenty you can put in your pre-nup about how you intend on dealing with the finances (and other areas) during the course of your marriage.

Here’s nine things to think about when dealing with doing your pre-nup:

1: Timing

There is never a good time to bring this up. There are not enough home-made-candle-lit-white-tablecloth-dinners, roses, diamonds or posh restaurants to soften the blow of asking your soon-to-be wife/husband for a pre-nup. If it were me, bring it up in casual conversation to feel out your partner but be warned, brace yourself for the deafening sound of the silent treatment or equally deafening sound of them shouting “what you do mean, you want a pre-nup!!” followed by a very angry face . Either way, you’ll need some aspirin, or you’ll be able to watch the football/coronation street in peace and quiet.

2: The mother in law

Its quite possible your future mother in law will put her 2-penny’s worth in. Buy more aspirin.

3: Don’t do it on the eve of the wedding

Pre-nups have to be entered in to well in advance of the wedding so it’s best to make sure you go and see a solicitor as early as you can. Dropping it in (casually) on the night before the wedding is only going to leave you in problems. Either – your soon to be wife/husband will leave you at the altar or will claim down the line “well if I didn’t sign it, they wouldn’t have married me, I was forced” if everything ends in disaster.

4: Knowing your dealing with divorce before your even married

Romantic. So Romantic. Pass the tissues. Sigh….

5: Finding out what your partners got before you marry them

Part of entering into a pre-nup means you have to give financial disclosure to each other. It follows you will find out exactly what your partners financial position is before you get married. This is always an eye-opener. Especially for those who haven’t really discussed finances before. Finding out that your partner is worth millions and knowing they only bought you socks last Christmas is about as crushing as it gets.

6: What to deal with in the pre-nup

Most prenups focus on just the finances – i.e. what to keep separate from each other and what should be a marital asset and what should happen to those on divorce and who gets what. In reality however, the list is endless and you could include whatever you like. My advice is to keep to the basics. No one wants to deal with how often hubby should be allowed to watch Super Sunday at the pub with his mates in their prenup. Equally, ladies, I’m sure none of you would want a limit placed on the amount of shoes they can buy a month. A shoe-buying-allowance, though? Now we’re talking!

7: Just not dealing with it.

If you’ve got assets to protect, protect them. Do not bury your head in the sand. If you feel like you can’t broach the subject with your other half you’re probably starting off on the wrong foot anyway. Deal with it as early as you can so that your intentions are clear from the outset. I’m not saying that your intentions are that all you care about is money, but rather that you want to ensure that you are entering into a relationship for all the right reasons. Whilst you are protecting your assets you are not saying that you are not going to share some assets with your future spouse. You are saying you want to make sure everything is fair. Chances are that if your spouse won’t agree to a pre-nup (because “why do we need one anyway, I don’t love you for your money, I love you for you”) there’s something not quite right.

8: I love you for you, not for your money. We don’t need for pre-nup

Wrong.

Warning sign number 1.

Get a pre-nup.

If they love you for you, and not for your money, they’ll sign the pre-nup. If you don’t heed the warning sign, make sure you don’t really really like the pre-acquired assets you have, because you’ll probably end up having to give some of them away. It’s okay though… they married you for you and not for your money.

9: My(financially weaker) spouse to be can’t afford getting their own legal advice

Offer to pay for it. It makes a great valentines/ birthday/anniversary/Christmas present.

Like I said earlier. ROMANTIC!

Head of Family (Private Law)
Loretta Orsi-Barzanti is an associate solicitor and head of our Private Family Team. She advises on all aspects of Public and Private Law.

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