I recently had the fortune to meet with Punam Denley of Blanchards Law based in the City of London, having been recommended to contact her by a fellow colleague and dear friend, Lise Herud.
Pre-nuptials I believe are key and, when I meet with my couples, two of the points that I raise at the initial consultation, is the importance of wedding insurance and also talking to a professional about a pre-nuptial agreement. I do however appreciate that when you are getting married the last think on one’s mind, is the thought of divorce but having this type of agreement is ‘peace of mind’ for the future. However, it is not something I would push upon my couples, but having met with Punam, she was so approachable and compassionate that if I needed this service personally, she would certainly be someone who I would pick up the phone to talk to and therefore someone I feel I can recommend.
So, here is an article that Punam Denley of Blanchards Law has written on her blog www.blanchardslaw.co.uk and I have made the odd comment in bold.
Pre-nuptial or Pre-marriage Agreements (“Prenups”) represent a difficult issue for a couple to grapple with, and are often viewed with suspicion and seen as unromantic. As the title suggests, they are only raised when you and your partner have decided to get married, and are an additional pressure at a time which is fraught enough as it is. I couldn’t agree more and it is far better to address this at the beginning of the planning process as you need 28 days prior to the wedding.
There may be good reasons to enter into an Agreement, such as the need to provide for your partner’s children from a previous marriage, or to safeguard a family inheritance from division if your relationship was to founder. But they serve to protect both proposed spouses, as they must be fair. It would not be right for one partner to be debarred from claiming against the other, and this is something that courts in England feel is very important. This is particularly the case where circumstances have changed since the date of signing the Prenup, such as the birth of a child or one spouse becoming ill and unable to support themselves. Judges have a free rein to decide whether or not to accept them, as there is no law saying that they should be recognised automatically, unlike many other countries worldwide.
Although the Agreements are increasingly being dealt with by the English courts, they remain largely misunderstood. There is no guarantee that such a document will be taken into account by a judge, and proper and comprehensive advice at the outset is essential. Reading what Punam Denley has written above and having met with her today after a personal recommendation, it makes me believe that she would offer you the right advice when creating an agreement and, that she would put your mind at ease which is key when making a decision like this.
There are certain necessary elements in English prenuptial which need to be included, to maximise the chances of their being recognised and enforced by the courts later if necessary:
- It must be in writing;
- The document must be delivered to the other partner at least 28 days before the wedding date;
- Both parties must have access to independent legal advice, which means that no one lawyer can talk to both partners; and
- The party seeking to enforce the Agreement must have given full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances.
When embarking into a marriage, you would expect full transparency so, it makes sense to at least consider the option of an agreement and speak to a professional such as Blanchards Law.
There are many aspects to think about when considering a Prenup, whether you would like your fiancé(e) to sign one, or if you are the recipient of one. There may also be foreign provisions which may need to be included and at Blanchards Law we have links with good family lawyers in other jurisdictions who can advise appropriately on those. It may well be that you ought not to conclude your settlement in the United Kingdom at all, and we are able to draw upon our knowledge and experience to assist you in this decision.
At Blanchards Law, we recognise the need to deal sensitively and fairly with our clients. As a family law firm, we offer a holistic service whereby we can mediate and collaborate with our clients and other solicitors to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. We have drafted many prenups and it is extremely important to us that your relationship is unharmed.
So, if you need to talk to someone about a prenup (pre-nuptial) agreement, then why not email Punam Denley at Blanchards Law – firstname.lastname@example.org.