Emotional effects of pre-nuptial agreements

10 November 2010

Pre-nuptial agreements can inevitably protect one party more than the other. Where does this leave love, romance, and the wedding? If not handled correctly, negotiating a pre-nup can have a huge impact on the relationship and wedding preparations.

What is fair to one may not seem fair to the other. Negotiating an agreement can result in difficult issues having to be addressed which the couple may not have previously discussed, such as attitudes to money, whether to have children, or what type of house the couple should live in. Engaged couples also need to consider the consequences of a separation or divorce; something they hope will never happen.

The involvement of the couples’ parents and wider family can be an added pressure. One family may be insisting that the pre-nup be signed, the other may be insulted that it has been raised. Equally a couple who have signed a pre-nup and are planning to marry in Church, may suddenly find that they can’t.

Should you negotiate face to face or hide behind lawyers? Timing is crucial – it can cloud what should be a happy exciting time. Ideally the prenup would be concluded long before the wedding but often it does not work that way. In extreme circumstances, if things don't go well, it could result in a wedding being called off days before it is due to take place.

Particularly following the recent Supreme Court Judgment in the case of Radmacher v Granatino, it is definitely worth considering a pre-nuptial agreement, but given the potential effects on the relationship, you should take advice well in advance of the wedding.

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