Before you get married or become civil partners you and your partner may want to consider what will happen to your assets if the relationship should breakdown. Discussing these issues early on can help ensure that solid foundations are in place to build your future together and to provide you both with some security and prevent difficulties arising in the future, should the relationship unfortunately deteriorate.
Many couples may take the view that such discussions may highlight a lack of trust in the relationship although the opposite may actually be more appropriate were such discussions serve to reinforce the couples’ legal union is for love and not financial gain.
A pre-nuptial agreement should not be used as a tool to try and unfairly prejudice a partner in the eventuality that the couple divorce. Indeed, the Jersey Courts will likely give little or any weight to a pre-nuptial agreement which is inherently unfair. The position remains that on a divorce an agreement between the parties cannot oust the jurisdiction of the Court and it is for the Court to consider what appropriate weight to give any such agreement.
Where a pre-nuptial agreement has been entered into freely and with a full understanding of the parties’ assets and knowledge of the implications of the pre-nuptial agreement, the Court is likely to give great weight to the pre-nuptial agreement and hold the parties to the agreed terms. Irrespective, the Court will always want to ensure that its orders are fair and just and should the pre-nuptial agreement not achieve that then the Court can and will depart from the pre-nuptial agreement.
Pre-nuptial agreements are not always appropriate for everyone and it depends on the circumstances of each case as to whether there is merit in considering one. Some circumstances where it may be appropriate to consider a pre-nuptial agreement include if you are getting married and have children from a previous relationship and you wish for your children to inherit certain assets or you have inherited wealth that you wish not to leave the family should the marriage breakdown.
Regardless of whether a couple choose to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement discussing financial arrangements early on could be key to avoiding pitfalls later on, not only potentially within the marriage but also should a breakdown occur. A pre-nuptial agreement allows the parties to evidence their intentions at the outset and provide for more certainty in what may otherwise be a potentially uncertain and volatile area which may only be capable of resolution through draining and expensive litigation involving local advocates and lawyers.
Sinels is a Jersey law firm that frequently advise on the drafting of pre-nuptial agreements and we can help you and your partner consider and agree terms that provide both of you with the security and protection to help you move forward in your life together.