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Pre nups are not forever

signing a prenup marriage contract

Pre nups are not forever just like love and marriage but unlike diamonds according to Cheshire family law specialist solicitors Stonehewer Moss. Michael Brennan will be watching the repeat of “Diamonds are Forever” this week but his 25 years in family law suggest this male fantasy has dated and the licence to kill is now recognised as a fiction while the pre nup is considered real. Diamonds do endure and become heirlooms and Michael always advises that divorce changes everything, but will it change a pre nup? Pre nups are not forever according to Michael, who says, “The obtaining of a pre nup is a sensible step in light of statistics and could save a couple much distress and legal cost together with some re-assurance to broader family members concerned family assets should be protected from divorce. However, the making of the pre nup does not freeze rights in time and any proper legal advice will have informed you that they are still not binding in English law, they are simply now less likely to be departed from but if circumstances change from those at the time of the agreement such that it becomes unfair, the court in divorce may well depart from the terms. For this reason a couple with a pre nup should keep it under review; while you may think buying tangible assets during the marriage is safe from loss of your control if you paid for a pre nup, you may be in for a nasty surprise but again proper advice should include a recommendation that you periodically review the agreement just as you would a will. Consideration should be given to incorporating a compensation clause in the pre nup if you think a party to the marriage giving up his or her preferred career for the marriage should receive it in the event a divorce might cause financial hardship generated by the marriage. A list of factors that should trigger a review of your pre nup as proposed by a Law Commission is detailed in this blog.”

The Law Commission list of suggested triggering event to review a pre nup is as follows:-

  • The birth of a child (unless this was specifically contemplated in the original agreement, and those terms continue to appear fair).

  • The parties settling and having the matrimonial home in a jurisdiction outside England and Wales.

  • A party’s incapacity through chronic illness or disability.

  • Bankruptcy.

  • Other significant changes in financial circumstances, such as:

    • a party’s loss of employment;

    • significant loss of value in a business; and

    • significant loss of value in an asset.

      Pre nups are not forever but sensible legal advice and forward planning should keep it a relevant document in the sad event of a divorce. For advice negotiation and drafting a pre nup please call 01606 872200 e mail or visit


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