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Law Commission Publishes its Report ‘Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements

Following Paul Walters’ article of 11th February 2014, the Law Commission has today (27th February 2014) published it’s report entitled “Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements” in which a proposal is made for Pre-Nuptial Agreements to be recognised in law.

At the moment, Pre-Nuptial Agreements (‘pre-nups’) are not legally binding in England and Wales.   However, the Law Commission has today set out what it believes should be the formal requirements for valid pre-nups:-

“(a) The agreement must be contractually valid (and able to withstand challenge on the basis of undue influence or misrepresentation, for example).

(b) The agreement must have been made by deed and must contain a statement signed by both parties that he or she understands that the agreement is a qualifying nuptial agreement that will partially remove the court’s discretion to make financial orders.

(c) The agreement must not have been made within the 28 days immediately before the wedding or the celebration of civil partnership.

(d) Both parties to the agreement must have received, at the time of the making of the agreement, disclosure of material information about the other party’s financial situation.

(e) Both parties must have received legal advice at the time that the agreement was formed.” (emphasis added by the writer)

Further, the Law Commission has recommended that “it should not be possible for a party to waive their rights to disclosure and legal advice.”

Paul Walters states that “If adopted by Parliament, the proposal would inevitably lead to a substantial increase in pre-nups and will, hopefully, begin to reduce the number of Court battles which can sometimes result from a divorce.”

At Astle Paterson (Solicitors in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire) we have a wealth of experience in drafting and advising on Pre-Nuptial Agreements which will enable you to protect your finances.  

Please contact Paul Walters, Solicitor in Astle Paterson’s Family Department on 01283 531366 or by way of email to his secretary at hhall@astlepaterson.co.uk to discuss matters further.

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