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Will you propose on Valentine's Day?

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Valentine’s Day is approaching and the shops are awash with greetings cards. Did you know that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in one form or another across the world and yet it dates back to the 14th century? It is the one time of the year when a woman can ask a man to marry her. So what if romance takes over and the marriage proposal is forthcoming, are you ruled by the head or the heart?

The answer ought to be the head and you should then be thinking of taking advice from a specialist family lawyer. The term prenuptial agreement must spring to mind. People may perceive such agreements as unromantic but if done appropriately and sensitively they can prevent heartache later on.

Prenuptial agreements have been in the news in particular in relation to the Radmacher case which was the landmark decision on prenuptial agreements. Pre nuptial agreements are not enforceable at present but have become more persuasive following subsequent case law. It is imperative that you obtain good solid advice to ensure that you have the best chance of having the agreement upheld.

There are certain factors which are important. It is essential to ensure that the prenuptial agreement is not signed in a rush or under pressure. Both parties must have time to reflect on what they are being asked. It is important to consider how the terms have been arrived at; they should be discussed and negotiated not imposed by one on the other. In essence they should be fair and reasonable. Both parties must fully and frankly disclose their income and assets to each other and most importantly both must be seen to have taken legal advice. They need to show that they understand the implications of the agreement they are entering into.

A prenuptial agreement is more likely to be upheld if it is reasonable and in line with current law. It will vary as to it terms depending on individual circumstances and special consideration needs to be given to the issue of future children and review clauses.

By family law solicitor and mediator, Gillian Davies