Government advisers call for 'prenup' law

Law Commission proposes legally binding prenupsPic: Getty

Divorce is never easy but life for warring couples could soon become a slightly less of a battle ground, because the Government's law reform advisers have suggested Brits should be free to set the terms of their very own prenuptial agreements.

Currently, couples are free to make pre- and post-nuptial agreements, but they are not legally binding. But the Law Commission has put forward a draft Bill which would allow for 'qualifying nuptial agreements' to be legally recognised.

If implemented, the law would allow married couples and civil partners to make a binding agreement over how property, finances and other assets should be split should the relationship hit the rocks.

In their report Matrimonial Property Needs and Agreements, the Commission also recommended that the Family Justice Council produce guidance on financial needs, and how a judge might determine a settlement that helps both parties to achieve financial independence. Strict criteria would also be imposed to ensure that neither party could 'contract out' of providing for their children.
Professor Elizabeth Cooke, Law Commissioner for property, family and trust law, told the Daily Mail: "Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are becoming more commonplace but the courts will not always follow them, and lawyers are therefore not able to give clear advice about their effect.

"Qualifying nuptial agreements would give couples autonomy and control, and make the financial outcome of separation more predictable. We have built in safeguards to ensure that they cannot be used to impose hardship on either party, nor to escape responsibility for children or to burden the state."

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