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Why a prenup could help in a highnetworth divorce and why they differ from normal divorces

Explore Graysons’ Sheffield & Chesterfield divorce lawyers guide to highnetworth divorce. Learn how prenuptial agreements can help protect wealth. Read more.

Why a prenup could help in a highnetworth divorce and why do they differ from normal divorces?

Divorces are  a stressful and emotional time for both parties, with division of assets, maintenance, and child custody all having to be taken into consideration. Reaching a financial agreement is often the most contentious aspect of ending a marriage. This is especially the case in highnetworth divorces, where there may be complicated finances and multiple high-value assets. Often highnetworth divorces will involve a prenuptial agreement. However, this isn’t always the case, and while prenups can offer some protection, they are not necessarily legally binding. Whether you are the financially stronger party or the economically weaker party, if you are considering a highnetworth divorce, it is essential that you engage the services of a specialised high-net-worth divorce lawyer. Here Graysons’ team of Sheffield and Chesterfield solicitors answer some of the most commonly asked questions about highnetworth divorce and prenuptial agreements. 

What is a prenuptial agreement in England and Wales? 

A prenuptial agreement in England and Wales, sometimes referred to as a prenup or pre-marriage agreement, is a legal contract drawn up between you and your partner, which outlines how assets should be divided in the event the marriage comes  to an end. Many people use a pre-marriage agreement, especially highnetworth and ultrahighnet-worth individuals, to help protect their wealth in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also be used to protect future wealth, if one partner knows that they are likely to come into significant wealth through an inheritance, or to protect assets for any children from a previous marriage. When drawing up a prenuptial agreement, it is important that you work with an experienced prenup marriage lawyer, such as Graysons’ team of solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield. 

What is a highnetworth divorce? 

A highnetworth divorce will involve significant, and sometimes  complex assets, that exceed both parties’ financial needs. Reaching a financial agreement in HNW or UHNW divorces can be  difficult and time-consuming as there are multiple assets to be considered. Assets in highnetworth divorces may  include a portfolio of properties (including the marital property), trusts, investments,  stocks and shares, pensions, business assets, and in some cases off-shore assets. Assets may also include high-value motor vehicles, yachts, jewellery, antiques and artworks . Many highnetworth divorces will involve pre-nuptial agreements. During a highnetworth divorce, it is imperative that you work with a highly skilled and experienced HNW divorce lawyer, such as the team of Sheffield and Chesterfield divorce solicitors at Graysons. A high-net-worth divorce solicitor will be able to outline what you are entitled to and work to ensure you the very best outcome, whether you are the financially stronger or weaker party. 

How does a HNW divorce differ from a regular divorce? 

A HNW divorce is different from a regular divorce as it will  involve  complex financial, business  and legal issues. Unlike a regular divorce, a HNW divorce will often involve a range of assets such as trusts, multiple properties and business interests, as well as offshore assets. While obtaining disclosure about assets in England and Wales is relatively straightforward, obtaining disclosure about offshore assets can be complex. Prior to divorce proceedings, highnetworth individuals who know they may be facing a divorce may seek to move their assets offshore in an attempt to protect them from division during divorce proceedings. Additionally, valuing private businesses, and dividing up businesses in a highnetworth divorce, is often difficult. Whether you are the  party claiming, or the defending party in a highnetworth divorce, it is critical that you work with an experienced divorce lawyer with expertise on HNW divorces. 

How can a highnetworth divorce lawyer help me? 

If you believe you are going to go through a HNW divorce, it is imperative that you engage the services of a highly skilled divorce lawyer with experience of dealing with highnetworth divorces, such as Graysons’ team of Sheffield and Chesterfield divorce solicitors. In some cases, the wealthier party will attempt to move or dispose of financial assets so that  they are protected from any division of assets during the divorce. If you act quickly, a divorce lawyer will be able to freeze assets to prevent this from happening.

Are pre-marriage agreements legally binding in the England and Wales?

Pre-marriage agreements are not legally binding in England and Wales. However, they can help limit potential claims against assets in the event of a divorce. Having a prenuptial agreement in place can also help lower the risk of costly litigation – if both parties agree to honour the prenup’s terms. Should a divorce end up in contested court proceedings, a prenup will be taken into consideration, with courts generally upholding prenups as long as they have been  correctly drafted. To ensure any prenup agreement is as watertight as possible, it is vital that you work with an experienced prenup lawyer, such as Graysons’ team of Sheffield and Chesterfield solicitors. 

How can a highnetworth pre-marriage agreement protect family wealth in the event of a divorce? 

A pre-marriage agreement, or prenup, can help protect family wealth in a divorce by ringfencing certain assets from division. A highnetworth pre-marriage agreement may exclude certain assets from division in a financial agreement, such as business interests, past or future inheritances, property, savings, trust funds, investments (such as stocks and shares) and pensions. While prenups are not legally binding in England and Wales, significant weight is given to them by the courts. When drawing up a highnetworth pre-marriage agreement, it is important that you work with an experienced prenup solicitor, such as Graysons’ team of solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield. 

Can a prenup agreement be challenged during a highnetworth divorce? 

Yes, a prenup agreement can be challenged during a highnetworth divorce as they are not legally binding in England and Wales. If you are ending your marriage and want to challenge a prenuptial agreement, you will need to work with an experienced divorce lawyer, such as Graysons’ team of Sheffield and Chesterfield divorce solicitors. There are various ways in which a prenup can be challenged, including: 

  • Incomplete or false information; for example, the prenuptial agreement does not fully disclose all assets
  • Duress; for example, one party was pressured into signing the pre-marriage agreement
  • Mental incapacity ; for example, one party, or both parties, did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were signing
  • Unfairness  or unreasonableness ; for example, if the prenuptial agreement inappropriately favours one party over the other and would leave the financially weaker spouse facing financial hardship

How can Graysons’ solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield help? 

Graysons’ boasts a highly skilled team of divorce lawyers and prenup solicitors in Sheffield and Chesterfield who are experienced in working with highnetworth and ultrahighnetworth individuals. If you are considering a HNW divorce, or need help with a prenuptial agreement to protect your wealth in the event of a divorce, then contact our team today.

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