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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Monday 10 July 2017

Pre-Nuptial and Cohabitation Agreements

Petra Ecclestone (daughter of former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone) is reportedly seeking to have set aside the pre-nuptial agreement she entered into with husband James Stunt. 

As their name suggests, pre-nuptial agreements are sometimes made by the parties to a marriage or civil partnership before they commit. Such an agreement won't be watertight. It could go right or it could go wrong. When challenged on a financial application which follows the breakdown of the relationship, the court may uphold it or reject it.

To be upheld, the agreement must have been entered into by the parties with a full appreciation of its implications. Duress, fraud or misrepresentation by one party to the other and the court will chuck the agreement into the waste bin. And probably do the same if one party was subjected to undue pressure to sign up. The agreement must also have been fair to both sides and with each party making a full and truthful  disclosure to the other about their financial circumstances. 

You'll find a draft pre-nuptial agreement in my book Breaking Law (which will save you a nice few bob in legal fees) and there's also a draft agreement where a couple are intending to cohabit together without getting married or entering into a civil partnership. The cohabitation agreement has a much stronger chance of being watertight than a pre-nuptial agreement although Breaking Law puts cohabitees wise about how they might succeed in  outwitting the cohabitee who turns out to be a  right rotter.

Happy Times.