The case of reality star Gemma Collins vowing to end the relationship with her boyfriend James ‘Arg’ Argent if he refuses to sign a pre-nup highlights how such contracts can be hard to digest.
Ms Collins’ announcement, which cited the non-disclosure agreement celebrity chef Paul Hollywood presented to his girlfriend Summer Monteys-Fullham and prompted their split, reinforces how such contracts demonstrate the ‘test’ of a relationship.
It is important to highlight that pre-nup agreements can be tailored to a couple’s present and future circumstances – for example by including an increase in provision which is dependent upon the amount of time they spent together.
An understanding of this element of flexibility and variation by both the proposer and recipient of the contract may go a long way to make it more digestible.
Prenups are sought for many reasons. Some couples embarking on their second marriage want to ensure that certain assets are preserved for their children from previous relationships. Others are keen to protect wealth which may have been in their family for generations.
In our experience, the majority of cases pre-nups are widely accepted as the sensible way for couples to avoid the potential distress, acrimony and expense associated with resolving financial matters, should they break up.
If embarking on a pre-nup, it is vital to finalise it in good time. Situations where the contracts can run into problems include when judges think they have been signed in haste and under pressure.
A judge will want to know that the financially weaker partner understood the agreement, was not under duress when they signed it, and took independent legal advice. Courts may ignore or vary pre-nups drawn up in haste.
We always advise that the agreement is signed at least 21 days before the wedding, making full financial disclosure and securing sound legal advice.
About Peter Jones
Peter Jones is one of the country’s leading divorce and family lawyers. A qualified arbitrator and mediator, Peter set up Jones Myers as the first niche family law firm in the north of England in 1992 and has acted for a string of high-profile clients.
Renowned for his sympathetic approach, he is a former national chairman of Resolution, a former Deputy District Judge – and instigated the D5 Group of law firms that promotes excellence in family law. www.jonesmyers.co.uk