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Amid the Excitement, Will Harry and Meghan Remember a Pre-Nup?

View profile for Matthew Wells
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The engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has got the nation abuzz with excitement – and no doubt broken a few hopeful hearts too.

The charming couple have much planning ahead of them for the wedding, with the big day likely to spread oodles of goodwill across the country.

Protecting their financial assets may not be at the forefront of Harry and Meghan’s minds at the moment, but it is something they should take into account and it is something their financial advisors are, no doubt, abreast of.

Pre-nuptial agreements are commonly entered into by high net-worth couples – though not exclusively so -  and they seek to clearly regulate their financial affairs, in the event of a relationship breakdown. 

Pre-nups can be used to try to protect wealth and to try to ring-fence inheritances, businesses, family heirlooms and property from potentially being dragged into divorce proceedings as matrimonial assets. It is advisable to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement – these aren’t just for royalty, Hollywood stars and music moguls!

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 and substantively fair - it cannot be obviously unfair to your partner and it must cater for the needs of any future children
  • 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 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 during the drafting of the agreement, usually with certificates signed by the parties’ respective lawyers being annexed to the agreement

It may be the case that an individual might want to use a pre-nup to protect a specific item of property – perhaps an item of jewellery with great sentimental value, or something else that has been passed down through generations. This part of a pre-nup might be upheld by a Court as long as the asset in question doesn’t have to be used to meet the other party’s financial needs.

It is wise to plan well in advance of a wedding when it comes to pre-nups – then bride and groom are free to get on with the joyful planning.

This is a complex area of law so is vital to seek advice from an experienced family lawyer before drafting a pre-nuptial agreement, to get the best chance of it being upheld by the Court in the future.

For more information please contact Matthew Wells, Head of the Family team for Swansea and West Wales at JCP Solicitors, on matthew.wells@jcpsolicitors.co.uk or alternatively, please call: 01792 529 650

Recommended by the Legal 500 2016 edition, Matthew has a wide experience of all areas of family practice and routinely deals with all aspects of private children matters, divorce, civil partnership disputes, financial remedies and domestic violence issues. Matthew is also a member of Resolution, an organisation for professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes.

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