Prenups a good move for expats and those planning to emigrate

Published:  11 Mar at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Euro, Emigration, England
Proposed changes to the law regarding pre-nuptial agreements, once the sole province of the filthy rich or titled, may benefit everyday expats and those planning to emigrate.

Many expats finding themselves in a new country also find themselves with an exotic new wife, but what happens when the marriage begun in heaven descends to hell and divorce looms? For the wealthy, prenups have always been the answer to losing the family silver to a grasping ex-spouse, but it’s not been a consideration for ordinary folks.

Recent recommendations by the UK’s Law Commission that prenups at any level should be legally binding in England and Wales have invited the question of expat marriages and the division of wealth if a divorce occurs. The contracts, which can place assets of value outside the reach of any divorce settlement, are widely used at al levels in Europe and the USA, but much less so in the UK.

According to family and private client lawyer Emma Collins, expats holding an English prenup could benefit should the government go for the proposal. It could, she says, have an influence as to where future divorce proceeding might take place, as well as on the process of deciding asset division.

Prenups can already be arranged in any country, including many popular expat destinations, as divorce proceedings don’t take into account the location of the marriage ceremony. Some countries impose their own rules as regards the financial settlement, making difficulties over the disposal of UK assets, and others are happy to go with English law.

A UK-executed prenup could avoid the situation where a spouse elects to divorce abroad, thus getting a more favourable financial settlement. A British prenup could be upheld as binding in the UK courts, thus limiting the claims of the other party as well as avoiding other complications.
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