It is always sad to read that anyone is separating or divorcing. The singer and song-writer Adele is now subject to much press attention and speculation, and no doubt many will focus on her considerable wealth and the potential claims that her husband might have.

Whatever the actual wealth of Adele, it appears that there was no pre-nuptial agreed and signed between Adele and her husband prior to their marriage. This may well be a surprise to many given Adele’s clear talents and artistic successes. This may have been a deliberate choice – we suspect we will never know.

However, having a pre-nuptial (or post-nuptial) is always worth considering.

A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is a formal written legal Agreement which is entered into and signed prior to the parties’ marriage. The document is intended to set out and list assets (which can include, property, pensions, savings and so on) that are being brought into the marriage and to record how those assets will be divided upon the permanent breakdown of the marriage.

A pre-nuptial Agreement is not binding on the divorce Courts in England and Wales but can have significant additional evidential value provided the following has occurred:

  • Both parties have obtained independent legal advice;
  • Both have fully disclosed their respective financial assets and all relevant information to the other;
  • There has been an arms-length negotiation process with no sense of pressure being applied by either party;
  • Any Agreement has been entered into well in advance of the wedding date to allow both parties to consider the above noted information and to obtain relevant legal advice as to the benefits or detriments to them signing such an Agreement.

As noted, such Agreements are not binding on the divorce Courts, however significant weight can be attached to an Agreement which is broadly considered to be “fair”.

Such Agreements can assist parties where there are significant differences in their respective financial contributions and where one party may want to ring fence such assets. For example, this could be capital or investments held prior to the marriage. However, the Court will want to consider the fairness of any divorce settlement, which often relates to the “needs” of the parties being met. Do be aware that “fair” and the perception of such, can be very different from one individual to another and the Court would consider on a case by case basis. However, if entering into an Agreement either as a Pre-Nuptial (prior to getting married) or Post-Nuptial (after the marriage has taken place but where significant assets are being received, for example, by way of inheritance), always assume that the Agreement will be binding upon you.

In the case of Adele, it will be interesting to see how this case is resolved. Already, there is speculation that various arguments will be run (such as Adele’s genius), which one hopes that they will resolve amicably and pragmatically bearing in mind that there is a young child involved, for example, utilising the collaborative as opposed to the formal Court (litigation) process.

Get in Touch

If you would like further information on pre and post-nuptials, prenuptial agreements, divorce or other family matters from expert solicitors in Reading, please contact our Family Partner, Paul Wild, on 0118 9589711 or email [email protected]. Paul offers a one-hour confidential fixed fee meeting at our Reading office for £95 including VAT.

Further Reading:

Drafting your own Divorce Petitions – Beware

Parental Responsibility – what is it and how can you acquire it?

Shareholders’ Agreement: How it could save you a lot of hassle

 

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