On 26th February the Law Commission published its “Matrimonial Property Needs and Agreements” report.

One of the recommendations is that legislation should be introduced to make pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements legally binding.

In certain circumstances the option to enter into a pre-nuptial can be attractive for example where it is a second marriage and the parties have independent grown up children and the couple who are marrying have money and property already to their name.

For the agreements to be “qualifying” both parties must disclose all material financial information at the time of signing the agreement and have had separate and independent legal advice upon it. The agreement must be signed at least 28 days before the marriage and should make fair provision to meet both parties’ needs.

In future this could give couples greater autonomy to determine the financial outcome in the event their relationship ends. This would give more certainty and remove potential lengthy and costly litigation in divorce proceedings.

This approach is more in line with how these agreements are treated in Europe and most family lawyers welcome the recommendation.