The Government recently announced that from 4th July couples can now get married in England with up to 30 guests and enjoy their wedding ceremonies with rules in place, such as all individuals from different households being at least two metres apart, or one metre with risk mitigation if this is not possible. Weddings have been banned since lockdown began on 23rd March.
The ceremonies are likely to look and feel very different to what we are used to, as, for example, there is to be no singing or raised voices, and no musical instruments played that are blown into. Therefore, there is a lot for couples to think about when planning their big day and ensuring everyone is kept safe.
As engaged couples now start to work out how to tie the knot safely, there is another matter they may also want to think about. Whilst it is not very romantic, a pre-nuptial agreement setting out what would happen to the division of their finances in the event of a later divorce, or dissolution for civil partnerships, should be considered. It can save a lot of time, stress and legal costs if the marriage/civil partnership sadly comes to an end in the future.
Pre-nuptial agreements can cover whatever the couple need, for example:
- properties or other assets that are difficult to split;
- preserving assets for children from a previous relationship;
- protecting inherited assets including any family trusts;
- protecting ownerships of businesses; and
- protecting a spouse from becoming liable for an existing debt of the other spouse.
Understandably, however, there may not be the time to consider a pre-nuptial agreement in the run up to the wedding, especially now that the plans need to be adapted to comply with the Government rules. Fortunately, there is still the option after the marriage/civil partnership has taken place to have a post-nuptial agreement. This would have the same purpose and legal weight as a pre-nuptial agreement and can be discussed and put in place without any time pressure.