In a straw poll the majority of engaged couples could see the sense in signing a prenuptial agreement before their wedding but they weren’t sure how to go about getting one. In this article prenup agreement expert, Robin Charrot, looks at how to get a prenup.Family law and prenuptial agreement solicitors
For legal help with a prenuptial agreement call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.Are prenups unromantic?
If you are engaged to be married you may be worried about raising the idea of a prenuptial agreement with your fiancée or fiancé. That’s totally understandable as no one wants to appear unromantic or to cast a pall over the engagement celebrations.
Whilst prenups may not be romantic they do show that you care and that you are taking your future seriously. That’s because a prenuptial agreement has to be ‘fair’ to both a husband and wife or to both civil partners. Therefore, if you are the financially weaker party to the marriage or civil partnership, the suggestion of a prenup, whilst not romantic, can offer you peace of mind and financial security.
Who wants a prenup?
As prenuptial agreement solicitors we are often initially approached by third parties wanting to make initial enquiries to help sort out a prenup for an engaged couple. There can be many very valid reasons for this, such as:
Parents wanting to protect the deposit on the family home because they gifted the deposit money to their son or daughter.
Grandparents wanting to make lifetime gifts to a grandchild as part of estate planning and wanting to keep gifted money ‘in the family’.
A parent or grandparent, having transferred assets to a child to avoid care home fee issues or to minimise inheritance tax, wanting to ensure that the transferred property is ring fenced in the prenuptial agreement.
A family member who has transferred shares in a family business to the younger generation as part of business and retirement planning.
The trustee of an onshore or offshore discretionary trust where the trustees anticipate making future capital or income distributions.
A family member who has left a substantial legacy in their will to a family member and who wants to ensure that their legacy is protected through the prenuptial agreement ringfencing it.
A parent or family member has been through a difficult divorce and wants to protect the engaged couple by ensuring they sign a prenuptial agreement to ensure that they don’t end up in a bitter and expensive court battle over the divorce financial settlement.
A parent or other family member is from overseas where prenuptial agreements are common place.
An accountant or financial advisor or other professional who wants to ensure that a client is financially protected, for example, where one party to the marriage has already inherited a lot of money or won the lottery or is a sportsperson with exceptionally high earnings but a time limited career span.
In addition, many engaged couples are also proactive in seeking out prenuptial agreement advice. For example, a financially weaker party to the marriage may actively seek a prenuptial agreement to show they aren’t a gold digger or to show extended family that they aren’t marrying for financial reasons. Equally, the financially stronger party to the engagement may want to protect their partner with the security of a prenuptial agreement that meets their needs should the couple take the decision to separate at a later date.
How to get a prenup
The often-asked question is ‘how to get a prenup’ whereas the question really is ‘how do I get my partner to agree to a prenuptial agreement and how do I tactfully raise the topic?’
Every couple is different so what works for one won’t work for someone else but prenuptial agreement solicitors say it is best to avoid the topic whilst on bended knee or when saying yes. Equally, it is best not to leave the question of a prenup to the last minute when you or your partner are stressing about wedding arrangements and last-minute preparations. In addition, for a prenup to carry weight with the family court, it should ideally be signed twenty-eight days before the wedding. That means the topic of the prenup agreement has to be raised well in advance of the wedding date so that the contents can be discussed and agreed.
One of the best ways to raise the topic of a prenup is in a general discussion about your future together. For example, you may be planning to move in with a partner or buy a house together or contemplating starting a family.
Another possibility is to raise the topic as part of your financial paperwork. For example, if you are planning on writing a new will in contemplation of your marriage or signing a new power of attorney or taking out additional life insurance.
The key point about a prenup agreement is that the agreement should protect both of you as the agreement needs to be fair and meet both of your respective needs to be given weight by the family court.
Conditions for a prenup
Prenuptial agreement solicitors say unless both of you comply with some conditions for a prenup agreement the document may carry little or no weight and therefore may be a pointless exercise. The conditions for a prenup are:
The prenup must be freely entered into.
You and your partner must fully appreciate the implications of entering into the prenup.
The agreement must not be significantly unfair to one spouse or civil partner.
You and your partner must each have your own independent legal advice.
You and your partner must each provide financial information about your assets, income and any debts.
A prenup should ideally be finalised at least twenty-eight days before the wedding.
Prenuptial agreement solicitors say that if you are interested in learning more about the option of signing a prenuptial agreement then the best way forward is to have a chat with an expert so you get a better idea of how a prenup may help and protect your family.
Family law and prenuptial agreement solicitors
For legal help with a prenuptial agreement call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.Latest From Our Nuptial Agreements Blog:
If you are thinking about starting divorce proceedings you may have read that English divorce law is changing. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to wait before you start divorce proceedings or that it is in your best interests to do so. In this blog, Manchester divorce solicitor, Robin Charrot, looks at the current five grounds for divorce.Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors
Evolve Family Law can help you with all aspects of family law from separation to divorce proceedings, child custody and contact arrangements and representation in financial settlements. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.
Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.The 5 grounds for divorce
Strictly speaking, a divorce solicitor will tell you that there is actually only one ground for divorce in England and Wales, namely that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. However, you have to evidence the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage under current divorce law by proving one of five facts.
The five facts are:
Unreasonable behaviour or
Two years separation and your husband or wife agrees to the divorce or
Five years separation – your husband or wife does not have to agree to the divorce if you have been separated for five years or more.
How do you prove you have the grounds for a divorce?
Many people are embarrassed at the thought of starting divorce proceedings and having to prove something like adultery or unreasonable behaviour. Equally, if you are on the receiving end of a divorce petition it isn’t nice to think that you have been accused of unreasonable behaviour or adultery. You may also worry about the effect of the divorce proceedings on your financial settlement or the childcare arrangements.
Divorce solicitors say that proving that you have the grounds for divorce is normally not as complicated or as difficult as you may envisage. Gone are the days when you had to send a private investigator to a hotel to prove adultery. If you want to start divorce proceedings based on adultery then all you need to say in the divorce petition is that your husband or wife has committed adultery with a person whose identity you prefer not to reveal and that your marriage has broken down irretrievably. The respondent to the divorce petition just has to confirm that adultery took place, without the need to go into further details.
Importantly, if you get divorced on the basis of adultery or unreasonable behaviour the basis for the divorce proceedings is only ever relevant in any child arrangement order application or divorce financial settlement proceedings in very rare circumstances. For example, if divorce proceedings are started on unreasonable behaviour and one of the allegations is that the respondent to the divorce petition physically assaulted the child. This allegation would be relevant in any child custody case. However, just because an allegation is contained in the divorce petition that you don’t agree to, it doesn’t mean that you have to defend the divorce proceedings provided that you are in agreement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
When are divorce proceedings contested?
As it is possible to agree to get divorced without accepting all the allegations of unreasonable behaviour or without going into a lot of detail about the adultery, most divorce proceedings are not contested. After all, it doesn’t make sense to most people to challenge divorce proceedings if they accept that their marriage has irretrievably broken down and understand that the contents of the divorce petition won't affect the financial settlement or the childcare arrangements.
Why is it best to get divorce legal advice?
As it is actually easier to get divorced under current law than many people think, divorce solicitors advise that it is best to take specialist legal advice so that:
You don’t assume that you should not start divorce proceedings now and instead wait until you can start a no-fault divorce when the new law comes into force
You protect yourself, if necessary, by starting divorce proceedings straight away. For example, if you fear that your husband or wife is hiding money from you or transferring assets to other family members or you are worried that your spouse is spending to excess or is at risk of bankruptcy
You don’t assume that you need to contest divorce proceedings based on adultery or unreasonable behaviour because the petition is very unlikely to affect either the financial settlement or child care arrangements. In addition, you can preserve your right to challenge any false allegation in the financial settlement or child arrangement order court proceedings
You understand your divorce options as, for example, even if your husband or wife has committed adultery you may not be able to start divorce proceedings on that basis if you lived together as a couple for six months or more after they committed adultery and you were made aware the adultery. Sometimes your divorce options may surprise you as you can get divorced on the basis of two years separation if you have lived together in the same family home for two years provided that you have lived ‘separate and apart’ within the same household and your husband or wife consents to a divorce
You protect yourself, if necessary, by either not starting divorce proceedings straight away or deferring applying for the decree absolute of divorce
You understand the impact of the divorce proceedings and pronouncement of your decree absolute. For example, the impact of your separation and divorce on your immigration status if you are in the UK on a family visa or the effect of your divorce on your tax status and the tax treatment of the transfer of assets between yourself and your former husband or wife.
Most divorce solicitors say that it isn’t just navigating the divorce process that is important but also understanding how your divorce fits in with any financial settlement or childcare arrangement that you either agree or ask the court to determine.Manchester and Cheshire divorce solicitors
The friendly team of specialist divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law can help you with your separation and divorce proceedings, child custody and contact and your financial settlement. For advice on your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.
The Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.Latest From Our Divorce Blog:
Handing over money to a former husband, wife, or ex-partner can be galling. That’s especially the case when you are paying child maintenance and you don’t think that your former spouse or ex-partner is spending the child maintenance on your child. In this article divorce settlement and child support solicitor, Robin Charrot, looks at whether you can pay child maintenance direct to your child.Financial settlement and child maintenance solicitors
For legal help with a financial settlement or with child maintenance call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.Who do you have to pay child maintenance to?
Child maintenance is normally paid to the parent who has primary care of the child. It isn’t paid to the child direct. Normally if child maintenance is paid after an assessment by the Child Maintenance Service, or after a financial court order is made in the family court, the Child Maintenance Service will encourage and the court will order that the child support is paid by direct debit to the receiving parent.
If parents reach an agreement over child support, and there is no Child Maintenance Service or court involvement, then it is possible to agree to pay the child maintenance direct to the child.
Is it best to pay child maintenance direct to a child?
You may think that as child maintenance is financial support for the child that payment of the money should go direct to an older child. However, child support isn’t just about a clothing or an entertainment allowance for an older child. Child maintenance is also meant to contribute towards the main carer’s household bills and other items, such as:
The mortgage or rent.
Utility bills and other expenses that the child benefits from. For example, the broadband or Sky television package.
Food and other essentials.
The child’s clothing.
The additional costs of looking after a child, such as presents, annual holiday , school trips etc.
Whilst you may say that:
Your former partner owns their home outright and so has no mortgage or
Your former partner lives with a partner who pays all the household bills or
You have no confidence that any of the money given to your former partner is spent on the child as the child is poorly clothed whilst your ex-partner has the latest technological gadget or designer clothing or is always off on a weekend away without the child.
The bottom line is that most parents say that they want child maintenance to be handed over to them, rather than given direct to the child. That’s because a direct handover of money can:
Make the child more aware of the parental conflict.
Create anxiety in the child.
Create conflict between child and main carer as the child sees all the child support as ‘their money’ to spend on themselves, rather than a contribution towards household expenses.
Can you split child maintenance between a child and the parent with care of a child?
If you are keen to pay child maintenance direct to your child you could have a conversation about whether you can pay some child maintenance by direct debit to your ex-partner and the balance direct to your child as a personal clothing or entertainment allowance.
Does the Child Maintenance Service taken into account money paid direct to a child?
If you pay money direct to a child and your ex-spouse or former partner then applies to the Child Maintenance Service for a child support assessment the Child Maintenance Service will carry out a calculation of your liability to pay child support. When calculating the amount of child support payable the Child Maintenance Service will look at your income rather than your outgoings and therefore won't take into account the payments made direct to your child.
Agreeing direct payments to a child
If you are able to reach an agreement on paying child support direct to a child then it is best to record that, either in your separation agreement or in your financial court order, as part of the overall financial settlement. However, if financial circumstances change, the parent with primary care could change their mind and ask for direct payments to be made.
Child support and financial settlements
If you have separated from a former partner or are in the midst of divorce proceedings with a husband or wife it is best to consider child support as part of your overall financial settlement, rather than look at it in isolation to other aspects such as payment of spousal maintenance and whether you will get to stay in the family home or if it will be sold or transferred to your partner.Financial settlement and child maintenance solicitors
For legal help with a financial settlement or child maintenance call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.
Evolve Family Law offices are in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Whitefield, North Manchester but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.
Latest From Our Children Law Blog:
You may have read in the news that if you are getting divorced you may be eligible to receive a £500 mediation voucher to help pay for family mediation. In this article, our divorce expert, Robin Charrot, answers your questions on the new mediation voucher scheme and looks at the importance of legal mediation support.
Divorce and Family Law Solicitors
For legal help with your divorce and mediation support for your financial settlement or childcare arrangements call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.The family mediation voucher scheme
The Ministry of Justice has announced that it has allocated one million pounds to enable up to 2,000 separating or divorcing couples to receive a £500 mediation voucher to help towards the costs of family mediation.
Divorce solicitors say that competition for the £500 vouchers may be fierce as the Ministry of Justice says that the vouchers will be allocated on a ‘ first-come first-serve’ basis, rather than on a points or any other type of allocation system.
What does the family mediation voucher scheme cover?
The mediation voucher scheme covers family mediation on a range of family law issues, such as:
Financial settlement after a separation or divorce where there is also a dispute over children and either ongoing or potential children law proceedings.
Why has the family mediation scheme been introduced?
The family mediation voucher scheme has been introduced at this stage to help reduce court applications and to encourage the use of family mediation. That’s because the government believes that family mediation is a better, quicker and cheaper option than separating and divorcing couples starting family court proceedings to resolve child custody and contact issues or to secure a financial settlement.
When will the family mediation voucher scheme operate from?
The scheme was introduced on the 26 March 2021 under Practice Direction 36V (Family Mediation Voucher Scheme). The practice direction will expire after a year and the mediation vouchers will only be available whilst funding lasts.
Does the voucher scheme cover the cost of attending a MIAM?
The family mediation voucher scheme doesn’t cover the cost of attending the mediation information and assessment meeting (referred to as a MIAM). This initial meeting with a mediator is designed to check that mediation is suitable before family mediation is commenced. To be eligible for the voucher, both parties to the family mediation must have attended a MIAM on or after the 26 March 2021. One can't have attended the MIAM before the 26 March 2021 and the other after the 26th.
Can both parties to the family mediation receive a voucher?
The £500 mediation voucher is per family and may not cover the total cost of the mediation sessions as your mediation costs will depend on your choice of family mediator and the number of mediation sessions that you require. The voucher is paid direct to the mediator, rather than given to either party to the mediation to use to pay the mediator’s bill. The £500 mediation voucher is inclusive of vat.
Is there a financial eligibility cap for the mediation voucher?
There are no financial eligibility criteria for the family mediation voucher. Anyone who meets the MIAM date and mediation subject criteria may be able to secure a £500 mediation voucher to cover or contribute towards their mediation costs.
Who pays for family mediation if a mediation voucher isn’t available?
If you can't secure a family mediation voucher because:
One of you attended a MIAM before the 26 March 2021 or
You are mediating on a financial settlement only and there are no childcare issues to mediate or
The mediation voucher scheme runs out of funds or
For any other reason.
Then the usually the mediator will check if either one of you is eligible for legal aid to cover the cost of mediation. If neither of you are eligible for mediation legal aid then you will need to agree on how the mediation sessions will be funded. You can either agree to share the mediation costs equally or come to another agreement, such as that one of you will pay for the mediation sessions or that the mediation sessions will be paid for out of your joint savings account.
Even if you do secure a £500 mediation voucher, if you go to a number of mediation sessions the voucher may not the total mediation cost. That’s why it is best to agree on how you will share any mediation cost in excess of the £500 voucher.
Does the mediation voucher cover the cost of mediation support?
The mediation voucher doesn’t cover the cost of mediation support from a divorce solicitor. However, mediation support can be very cost effective. Taking legal advice before and/or after mediation sessions can help you understand:
Your legal options, such as the type of court application that you could commence or your former partner could start.
The likely range of orders that a court could make if you or your former partner started court proceedings.
The potential costs of applying for a court order or responding to a court application and the timescale for completion of the court proceedings.
The impact of any issues raised in mediation. For example, financial disclosure issues raised during the mediation process where you are trying to reach a financial settlement.
Whether proposals put forward in mediation are within the range of orders that a family court would be likely to make if either you or your ex-partner were to start family law court proceedings.
Legal advice on any aspects that are making it hard to reach a compromise in mediation. For example, if one of you believes that you have a legal right to equal parenting or one of you believes that an inheritance or a pension isn’t relevant to any financial settlement discussions.
The legal process to sort out your divorce or to draft a separation agreement or to secure a financial court order or draw up a parenting plan and the legal status of a financial court order or parenting plan.
By receiving mediation support and getting the legal advice you need during the mediation process you may be more likely to have the confidence to reach a mediated agreement. Evolve Family Law can help you with independent specialist family law advice before and after mediation to support and guide you, including advice on any of the post-mediation documentation that may be necessary.Divorce and family law solicitors
For legal help with your divorce and mediation support for your financial settlement or childcare arrangements call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.
Evolve Family Law offices are in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Whitefield, North Manchester but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Latest From Our Divorce & Separation Blog:
When you take the decision to separate you may not realise just how big an impact your divorce may have on your future income. The financial services company, Legal and General has revealed that women’s income falls by a third and men’s income by 18% on divorce. In this blog we look at the impact of divorce on your income.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors
Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and divorce proceedings and resolving financial settlements . For help call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Evolve Family Law have offices in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our family law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.
The divorce statistics
You may be shocked by the divorce statistics and question why a woman’s income on divorce should reduce by more than men’s income.
The Legal and General research suggests that there are several factors behind the statistics, such as:
The reality is that many women earn less than their male counterparts during the marriage because of career choices and childcare
In divorce financial settlements women are more likely to ask her for and get a financial settlement that includes the family home or more than half the equity in the sale proceeds of the family home. If you get a greater share or all the equity in the property, then you are less likely to be awarded spousal maintenance or to receive a share of their husband's pension fund and the making of a pension sharing order.
Will a divorce impact on my income?
When a couple separate it is usual to go from a two-income household to a one-income household with a consequent reduction in income.
If a reduced income means that you can’t manage to pay your reasonable outgoings, the court can make an order that the other party to the marriage pay spousal maintenance. The payment of spousal maintenance can continue indefinitely until terminated by death, re-marriage of the receiving party or further order. Alternatively, the court can order that spousal maintenance is paid on a time limited basis.
What amounts to reasonable outgoings will depend on the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage as well as the affordability of the current outgoings considering:
The ability of one spouse to afford to pay spousal maintenance and still meet their own reasonable outgoings and
The ability of the other party to the marriage to either find work or increase their earnings capacity so they can meet all or a greater proportion of their own reasonable outgoings.
Divorce solicitors will tell you that when it comes to income on divorce and whether your respective incomes will be shared (through a spousal maintenance order) comes down to a range of factors, such as:
Whether you have young children to support and whether the care of children impacts on your earnings capacity
Whether any disability or age impacts on your ability to seek employment or increase your income
Your income and earnings capacity
The extent of your reasonable outgoings
The length of the marriage
Other factors, such as the existence of a prenuptial agreement that sets out whether and how long spousal maintenance should be payable on separation and divorce.
Perhaps, just as importantly, parity of income on divorce can come down to a question of priorities. You may want to forgo a pension sharing order on divorce as your priority isn’t income on retirement but instead getting the equity in the family home so you can rehouse yourself without a mortgage. Alternatively, you may want the capitalisation of your spousal maintenance payments so that you get a cash lump sum instead of ongoing monthly payments.
Whatever your priorities it is best on separation or divorce to take legal advice from a specialist divorce solicitor so you can understand the range of options for your financial settlement and work out which one is best for you and your family. Without expert legal and financial advice, you may not appreciate the value of the pension fund belonging to your spouse and how a pension sharing order could be to your financial advantage.
The divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law will not only look at your financial settlement options but they will also reality test them with you. For example, if your priority is to keep the family home and you are willing to forgo a pension sharing order or spousal maintenance to keep the property then this may not be a realistic or best option if you can’t afford to pay your reasonable outgoings on the property as you aren’t getting spousal maintenance or a pension sharing order.
Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors
Evolve Family Law specialise in separation and divorce proceedings and resolving financial settlements .Call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form for expert legal advice with your financial settlement. Evolve Family Law have offices in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but our family law solicitors are experienced in working remotely and offer meetings by telephone appointment or video call.
Latest From Our Divorce Blog:
The short answer to the question ‘are prenuptial agreements legally binding in the UK?’ is no but please read on as prenuptial agreements can save you a lot of money. They are the financially prudent and the sensible, if unglamorous part, of wedding planning.Prenuptial Agreement Solicitors
Evolve Family Law specialises in prenuptial agreements. For advice on your prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement options call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Our offices in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Whitefield, Manchester are open with social distances measures in place for face to face meetings, however an appointment is required. We also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone for those who prefer not to travel.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is an increasingly common document that an engaged couple enter into prior to their marriage. If someone isn’t sure what a prenuptial agreement is or what it does then they can be more wary about signing the document so it is best not to make assumptions about your partner’s understanding of what a prenuptial agreement is and will do.
In essence a prenuptial agreement will govern how a couple will regulate and resolve their financial affairs in the event of a separation. The prenuptial agreement is bespoke to the couple and can be as detailed or as simple as the couple prefer.
Prenuptial agreements and UK family law
Now is a good time to answer the question ‘are prenuptial agreements legally binding in the UK?’ That’s because the leading family law case report on prenuptial agreements was ten years old in October 2020. The case remains good case law that is followed by family law judges when they are asked to consider a prenuptial agreement in divorce and financial settlement proceedings. The judges follow this case report, and later decided cases, in the absence of any UK legislation on the status of prenuptial agreements in UK divorce law.
The leading family law case on prenuptial agreements remains the 2010 UK Supreme Court decision of Radmacher v Granatino.
What is the legal status of prenuptial agreements?
A prenuptial agreement doesn’t have any statutory or legislative basis and isn’t a binding contract in the same way as a commercial contract. However, that doesn’t mean that a prenuptial agreement doesn’t have legal status. It gets its status from case law, particularly from the leading court case of Radmacher.
Prior to the case of Radmacher prenuptial agreements were thought to be contrary to public policy because they might encourage separation, though the reality was couples wanted to enter into prenuptial agreements, not with a view to separation, but to cover that eventuality, in the same way couples organise life insurance, Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. The Radmacher case acknowledged the importance of couples being able to freely enter prenuptial agreements.
The status of prenuptial agreements after the Radmacher court case
In the Radmacher case a French husband and a German wife entered into a prenuptial agreement three months before their marriage. In essence, the prenuptial agreement said that neither the husband nor the wife would make a claim on the other’s property if they separated and got divorced. The couple had two children together but eventually separated. The husband made a financial claim and the wife said the prenuptial agreement should be binding on him.
During the financial court proceedings the court had to assess the relevance of the prenuptial agreement. The wife, who was heir to family wealth, said the prenuptial agreement should be binding but the husband argued that it wasn’t. His argument was based on the fact that he did not have legal advice when he agreed to the prenuptial agreement, there had been no financial disclosure or negotiations before the agreement was signed and the couple had children after entering into the agreement.
The court case went all the way to the Supreme Court and that’s why it remains a leading case on the status of prenuptial agreements in financial court proceedings. The Supreme Court said that ‘’the court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement."
The key points from the Radmacher case is that your prenuptial agreement must be freely entered into and should be fair.
What is a freely entered into and fair prenuptial agreement?
As it is ten years since the Radmacher decision not only are more couples choosing to enter into prenuptial agreements but the family court is also being asked to look at the relevance of prenuptial agreements in divorce and financial proceedings.
If you are looking at signing a prenuptial agreement then it is important to ensure that your agreement is drafted by a prenuptial agreement solicitor who knows what the court will look at when deciding whether to enforce the agreement or to give it weight in any financial court proceedings.
Whilst prenuptial agreements are not currently automatically enforceable as a contract the family court will either enforce it or give weight to the terms of the prenuptial agreement (thus potentially reducing the size of the financial settlement that would otherwise have been awarded in divorce and financial proceedings ) if the following formalities are met:
The terms of the prenuptial agreement must be fair to both parties and must meet the needs of any children
There must have been financial disclosure so that the husband and wife each had an understanding of the other’s financial position so they could make informed decisions about the content of the agreement and whether to sign it
The prenuptial agreement should be signed at least twenty one days prior to the marriage ceremony or civil partnership
The agreement should be freely entered into with no duress or undue influence or misrepresentations about signing the prenuptial agreement
Both parties to the prenuptial agreement should take their own independent legal advice before signing the document.
Is a prenuptial agreement a good idea?
Since the Radmacher case prenuptial agreement solicitors have seen a substantial rise in enquiries about both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements. That is because, in today’s age, couples want to plan and feel financially secure, whatever the future holds for them. To a family solicitor that is just sensible and prudent planning from a committed and switched-on couple who don’t want to engage in expensive court litigation should they decide to separate at a later date.Prenuptial Agreement Solicitors
For help with your prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement call the friendly, specialist prenuptial agreement solicitors at Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Our offices in Holmes Chapel, Cheshire and Whitefield, Manchester are open with social distances measures in place for face to face meetings, however an appointment is required. We also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone for those who prefer not to travel.Latest From Our Nuptial Agreements Blog:
How you start divorce proceedings differs depending on where you are living in the UK so in this blog we look at divorce law and how to file for divorce in England. As Cheshire and Manchester divorce solicitors our experts file for divorce every working day but we never forget that the divorce process be very confusing and frightening and particularly if you are worried about child care arrangements or how you will agree a financial settlement.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors
The divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law advise on all aspects of family law from separation to divorce proceedings, temporary financial arrangements and long term financial settlements, to resolving child custody and contact as well as private client matters. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. The Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but the divorce solicitors and Will lawyers also offer remote meetings by telephone or video call appointment.How Do You File for Divorce?
Many people assume that filing for divorce is very complicated. However, divorce solicitors would be the first to say that whilst divorce proceedings are understandably a very fraught emotional time, the divorce process is relatively straight forward and what most couples find a lot harder to resolve is either child care arrangements or the financial settlement.
When talking of how to file for divorce it is easiest to start with what you don’t have to do because there are so many myths and assumptions about what filing for divorce entails. You don’t have to:
Go to court to file for divorce - your divorce solicitor can do this online for you or if you are starting the divorce proceedings yourself you could post the divorce paperwork to the court
Agree why you are starting divorce proceedings with your husband or wife before you file for divorce - however divorce solicitors always recommend that you (or they) try to reach an agreement over the basis for the divorce proceedings (or explain the basis for the divorce petition) before the divorce proceedings are filed (unless it is an emergency situation such as a relationship involving domestic abuse). It is recommended that you try to communicate about the divorce (either directly or through divorce solicitors) to try and avoid additional acrimony or misunderstandings about the impact of your starting divorce proceedings (for example, some spouses mistakenly think that if they respond to a divorce petition that as the respondent to the divorce they won't get to see their children as much or get as large a financial settlement in comparison to the husband or wife who petitions or files for divorce - that is incorrect)
Have agreed on child custody - many parents assume that the divorce court will want to know what arrangements have been made for the children and will want to make child custody and contact orders as part of the divorce process. That isn’t the case as the day to day arrangements for your children don’t need to be agreed before you file for divorce. In addition, the divorce and family court won't make automatic children orders during the divorce proceedings but will only make child arrangements orders if you or your husband or wife apply to court for a child arrangements order. You can apply to court for a child arrangements order before, during or after you or your husband or wife start the divorce proceedings
Have agreed the financial settlement- often financial matters are the hardest to sort out, from the question of who gets to stay in the family home, to whether you will get a share of your husband or wife's pension , if spousal maintenance should be paid and, if so, how long the spousal maintenance should be paid for. You don’t need to agree financial matters before you or your spouse files divorce proceedings but you may be advised by a divorce solicitor to delay your application for decree absolute until you have a financial settlement in place
Filing for divorce involves a divorce court hearing - if you file for divorce and the divorce isn’t opposed by your husband or wife then neither of you are at all likely to have to attend a divorce court hearing. You may need to attend court hearings if you can't reach agreement on child contact and custody or the financial settlement. However, in most families, an agreement is reached without the need for a children court order and the court is often asked to make an agreed financial court order without the need for anyone to go to a court hearing
Spend a lot on divorce solicitors to get divorced - most divorce solicitors charge a fixed fee to file divorce proceedings and secure your decree absolute of divorce (the document that concludes the divorce proceedings). At Evolve Family Law our divorce solicitors believe that it is best to be transparent about costs and publish a price guide on their website that includes divorce proceedings fees. Where couples can end up spending a lot in legal fees is arguing over the residence and contact arrangements for their children and the financial settlement. The specialist divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law try to narrow the issues between you to help you reach an agreement or try to help you limit the amount spent in legal fees in contested court proceedings.
The paperwork needed to file for divorce
The paperwork you need to file for divorce is very straightforward. All you need is:
Your original marriage certificate
Your divorce petition - this needs to be completed correctly
The divorce court fee.
Although you don’t need a lot of paperwork to file for divorce, family law solicitors say that it is best to take legal advice before doing so to make sure that divorce is the right option for you and to understand the likely financial settlement options and childcare arrangements and the best timing for you to start the court proceedings.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors
Evolve Family Law advises on separation and divorce proceedings, financial arrangements on separation and long term financial settlements, child custody and contact and private client matters (Wills and powers of attorney). For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. The Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but the divorce solicitors and Will lawyers also offer remote meetings by telephone or video call appointment.Latest From Our Divorce Blog:
How you cope with a divorce is one of those questions that no-one, whether they’re a specialist divorce solicitor or a friend or relative who has been through their own divorce or relationship breakdown, can fully answer. That’s because only you know how you can best cope with your divorce. In this blog we look at some of the things that have helped others to cope with divorce and may be helpful. Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors
Evolve Family Law can help you with all aspects of family law from separation to divorce proceedings, agreeing child custody and contact arrangements and financial settlements to representation in financial and children law proceedings. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.
Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by telephone appointment or video call.Coping With Divorce
We all cope with life’s challenges in different ways, whether it is redundancy, bereavement or facing a major illness. Divorce is in many ways similar as you and your family are experiencing loss. That’s the case whether or not you are the one who wants to initiate the divorce proceedings and file for divorce or if you feel completely taken aback and ambushed by your husband or wife's decision to separate.
Coping with divorce isn’t easy especially when people say that you haven’t been married long and therefore assume that you shouldn’t be upset by your divorce or when friends make comments such as ‘’there are other fish in the sea’’. Most people want to deflect attention from themselves when asked ‘’how are you?’’ but one way of coping with a divorce is to give an honest answer. There are lots of other things that you can do to cope with divorce, such as:
Take some legal advice - often people are not just worried about their divorce but the risk that the children will move to live with their husband or wife and they won't see the children on a daily basis or how they will manage financially after the divorce. Often the big question is ‘’will I get to stay in the family home’’. The sooner you get some answers to those questions the better you will feel as then you will have an idea of what the future holds for you rather than worrying without knowing your divorce rights
Tell your divorce solicitor how you feel - divorce solicitors aren’t counsellors but they can put you in touch with individual or family therapists who will be able to help you. Also, if you feel strongly about something, whether it is keeping your business or your pension or being able to see your children on your birthday, then tell your solicitor as once they know what is important to you then they can act on that
Don’t listen to too many people- when you are getting divorced it can feel as if everyone is an expert, from your mother and best friend who both think that you shouldn’t get divorced to your work colleague and circle of friends and aunt who not only are encouraging you to get divorced and to take your husband or wife ‘’to the cleaners’’ but are also telling you that you will get to keep the family home, the family business and your pension. That’s normally because they say they did or they know a friend of a friend who did. Everyone’s financial and personal circumstances are different and it is easy to get overwhelmed by too much well-meaning advice
Don’t rush or delay - telling you to not rush but don’t delay may sound a bit perverse but from a divorce solicitor’s perspective you should not rush into divorce proceedings until you have had chance to think things through. Equally though, it can be harmful to you to delay making decisions because you will remain in limbo. That’s why it is important to strike the right balance and not feel rushed or pressurised into making decisions but on the other hand not allow things to drift so you remain in a situation that isn’t good for you
Tell your divorce solicitor if you have questions or don’t understand - whether you don’t understand the divorce process, the meaning and terms of a child arrangements order or the implications of a financial court order and pension sharing order on your future pension contributions then tell your divorce solicitor. Many people are embarrassed to ask questions and that just leads to more anxiety. A divorce solicitor wants to help you cope with your divorce and therefore wants to answer your questions. Everyone has different questions so don’t be afraid to ask yours
Think about yourself - when you are getting divorced all your attention may be focused on how your children are coping with the news of the separation or how your husband or wife has reacted to the news that you believe that the marriage has broken down or how your mother will come to terms with your divorce. Whilst thinking of others is important it is also necessary to think about yourself so you don’t reach a financial settlement based on the fact that the children want you to stay in the family home when they are already at university and you hate the house or agree a financial court order that gives your husband or wife a large financial settlement because you feel guilty about the separation and haven’t thought through the long term consequences for you, for example, in terms of your ability to buy a decent house or to fund your retirement.
Coping with divorce can be made easier with the right help and support and that can be provided through a combination of friends and family as well as professionals such as therapists, your doctor or divorce solicitor. The best help to cope with your divorce can't be packaged as we are all different but one of the most important ways to cope with your divorce is to take time out, away from the pressures of home and work life and children, to think about what help you need, whether it is practical, emotional or legal.Manchester and Cheshire Divorce Solicitors
The friendly team of specialist divorce solicitors at Evolve Family Law can help you with your separation and divorce proceedings, as well as child custody and contact and your financial settlement. For advice on your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form.
The Evolve Family Law offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.
Latest From Our Divorce Blog:
When I am leaving the office after a busy day as a Manchester family lawyer I sometimes ponder where the day went as it doesn’t seem five minutes since I was opening the office up as part of my morning routine. That’s when my thoughts turned to answering a popular internet search question ‘what do family lawyers do?’Manchester and Cheshire Family Lawyers
Robin Charrot is a family lawyer at Evolve Family Law. The firm advises on all aspects of family law from separation and divorce proceedings, reaching financial settlements, resolving child custody and contact as well as private client matters. For help with your family and private client law needs call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. The Evolve Family Law offices are in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but we also offer remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone.What is family law?
To understand what a family lawyer does you need to know what family law entails. Most people assume that being a Manchester family lawyer is all about drafting divorce proceedings but that certainly isn’t the case as that is only one very small aspect of working life in family law.
Family law is something that you will probably come across in your life. That’s not a negative as many aspects of family law are a positive experience for families, such as:
Buying your first house and asking a family lawyer to prepare a cohabitation agreement
Getting engaged to marry and signing a prenuptial agreement so both you and your fiancé have peace of mind
Having your first child through adoption or surrogacy and asking the family lawyer to secure an adoption order or parental order for your family.
Even something that can be a very negative and a traumatic life experience can end up with a positive outcome with the help of a family solicitor. For example:
Separating from a partner and with the help of a family solicitor either agreeing a parenting plan for your child or securing a child arrangements order so that you and your child can enjoy an ongoing relationship with one another
Getting the help you need to leave an abusive relationship with a controlling or violent partner through obtaining a non-molestation or occupation injunction order thus enabling you to make a fresh start and put a bad relationship behind you
Going through the heartache of your child being taken abroad by the child’s other parent and through use of child abduction and children law proceedings securing the return of your child to the UK
Separating from a husband or wife and not knowing where you stand financially and how you will achieve financial independence. Through financial disclosure gaining a better understanding of the family finances and securing a financial court order so that you can move into a new family home
Meeting a new partner after a separation or divorce and asking your family lawyer to prepare a cohabitation agreement or a prenuptial agreement so that you can enter your new relationship confident that you have the right paperwork in place to protect you and your family.
These are just some of the things that family lawyers do. Family lawyers do tend to get a bad press on the basis that it is thought that they encourage warring parents and divorcing couples to go to court but that isn’t the case. There are many alternatives to making an application to court, such as:
Solicitor negotiations with any financial agreement being converted into a separation agreement or an agreed financial consent order (without the need for anyone to go to court)
Family mediation support so that if you are able to reach an agreement in family mediation your Memorandum of Understanding is converted into an agreed financial consent order with no need to physically go to a court hearing to secure the court order
Family arbitration – this can be quicker and more flexible than traditional court proceedings.
However, there will also be some family situations where urgent court applications are necessary. For example:
If you are in an abusive relationship and you need the protection of an injunction order
You are worried that your child is at risk of child abduction or will be taken abroad to live without your agreement
You are concerned that your husband or wife is not giving financial disclosure of the family assets or is selling or transferring assets and that if you do nothing you won't receive a fair financial settlement. In that scenario a financial court application needs to be made to protect yours and your children’s best interests.
One thing that is certainly true is that no one day is ever the same in the life of a family lawyer; Monday could involve negotiating and drafting an international prenuptial agreement whilst Tuesday might be spent in court securing an injunction, financial or children law order. As for Wednesday, who knows?
Manchester and Cheshire Family Lawyers
To speak to Robin Charrot at Evolve Family Law about any aspect of family law, from separation and divorce proceedings, reaching a financial settlement or resolving child custody and contact call Evolve Family Law on 0345 222 8 222 or complete our online enquiry form. Our offices are located in Whitefield, North Manchester and Holmes Chapel, Cheshire but remote meetings by appointment by video call or telephone are also offered.Latest From Our Family Law Blog: