September 5, 2019

What’s the solution when pre-nups prove unpalatable?

The case of reality star Gemma Collins vowing to sever ties with her boyfriend James ‘Arg’ Argent if he refuses to sign a pre-nup highlights how such contracts are not to everyone’s taste.  

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 extensive 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.

For information about pre-nup and post-nup agreements or any aspect of family law, call our Leeds office 0113 246 0055, our Harrogate office 01423 276104, or our York office on 01904 202550. Visit, email or tweet us @helpwithdivorce