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Ask The Legal Expert: Pre Nups and the Farm Business.

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My parents and I are in a farming partnership and I’m planning to get married at the end of next year. Without wanting to sound unromantic, how can I protect the business and keep it outside the matrimonial assets in the unlikely event that my marriage was to fail?

With an upcoming wedding this may seem like an awkward time to be thinking about potential legal complications in the event of a marriage breakdown. But making sound plans now about how to safeguard the family livelihood will take away any unnecessary worry – so you are free to focus on your wedding plans!

If you are eager to ring fence the family business from potentially being dragged into stressful and expensive divorce proceedings as a matrimonial asset, it is advisable to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement – these aren’t just for Hollywood stars and music moguls.

A pre-nup is an agreement between the parties to an intended marriage that seeks to clearly regulate their financial affairs, in the event of a relationship breakdown.

These agreements are not yet formally binding in England and Wales. However, as long as certain key criteria are met, a pre-nup is likely to be persuasive. It should be:

  • Procedurally fair and substantively fair - it cannot be obviously unfair to your girlfriend and it must cater for the needs of any children in the future.
  • Freely entered into and made by deed.
  • Made at least 28 days before the wedding and preferably far in advance of it.
  • Both parties must have received, at the time of the making of the agreement, full disclosure of information about the other party’s financial situation with each party’s assets and income schedules being annexed to the agreement.
  • Both parties must have received legal advice at the time that the agreement was formed (usually with certificates signed by the parties’ respective lawyers being annexed to the agreement).

This is a complex area of law so is vital to seek advice from an experienced family lawyer before drafting a pre-nuptial agreement, so you have the best chance of meeting the above criteria.

For further advice, please contact our specialist Family Solicitors in:

  • Swansea: 01792 773773
  • Cardiff: 02920 22 5472
  • Carmarthen: 01267 234022
  • Caerphilly: 02920 860628
  • Cowbridge: 01446 771742
  • Haverfordwest: 01437 764723
  • Fishguard: 01348 873671

The question posed in this blog is based on a hypothetical situation.