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Pre and post nuptial agreements.

A nuptial agreement provides a clearly set out agreement which regulates how different assets are to be treated and what each party intends to happen to the assets in the event of the breakdown of the marriage.

Pre-nuptial agreements (sometimes called ‘Ante-Nuptial Agreements’) and post-nuptial agreements (known collectively as ‘Nuptial Agreements’) are often regarded as being binding in England and Wales even though, in reality, the courts have ultimate discretion. What is clear is that having an effective and well drafted nuptial agreement can assist with planning and setting out your finances and currently the courts give them considerable weight.

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What a nuptial agreement does

They are often requested where, for example, the parties have different wealth structures and/or inherited family assets or interests. The reality of a marriage is married couples do not write detailed statements about their finances and how they are to be divided and a nuptial agreement does exactly that. It is therefore a sound piece of good financial planning.

What the courts say about nuptial agreements

Nuptial agreements have been given increasing importance and weight since the decision in a famous case called Radmacher v Garantino upheld the terms of an agreement. Since that decision courts need to consider any nuptial agreements as a preliminary issue before going on to decide whether or not they are considered to be fair or not. This is partly why you need a sound legal team on your side to advise you on the terms you want to enter into.

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    Isn't having a Nuptial agreement unromantic?

    Not as unromantic as a terrible divorce whereby the terms of what you agreed about your financial arrangements are perpetually disputed. Where there is a discrepancy in wealth Nuptial agreements make for sound financial planning.

    Should couples always enter in a Nuptial agreement?

    Not necessarily, particularly if your financial position is similar. It is however worth seeking advice on whether or not to enter into a Nuptial agreement and really ought to form part of good financial planning.

    Are the sort of "adultery clauses" that Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas have likely to be enforceable here?

    Most probably not. The Law here remains untested in that regard but a wide range of different financial provisions can be made so long as they fall within what the court classifies as a being fair. That is why it is also a good idea to review your original agreement from time to time and, if need be, make a further agreement later on.