Cupid’s bow and arrow should be replaced with a pre-nuptial agreement and a pen this Valentine’s Day, says top London divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag.
Of the thousands of couples who will get engaged or decide to set up home together this Saturday, few will consider how their new status will affect their legal rights, risking far more than a broken heart if they separate later on, Vardag warns.
Vardag’s Strand-based firm has been instrumental in having the pre-nuptial agreement – a document she believes all engaged couples should sign – applied by English courts.
“While pre-nups are still not yet legally binding in the UK, as they are in the rest of Europe and in the US, recent judgments by English courts show they are playing an increasingly significant part in determining the distribution of wealth and assets in the event of a divorce,” Vardag says.
Prenuptial agreements have become more socially acceptable in recent years. English legal firms last year reported a huge surge in demand from couple’s about to tie the knot, and for post-nuptial agreements, if they had married without one.
Couples who make the decision to move in together on Saturday should also consider their situation from a legal point of view and how limited their rights can be in the event of a break-up, Vardag adds.
“People buying a property together should ensure it’s in both their names. If not, and the relationship breaks down, unmarried partners may find themselves out on the street or engaged in a long and costly legal wrangle for any rights.”
Ayesha Vardag graduated from Cambridge University with Honours in Law and from Brussels with a Master’s in European Law, working at the International Courts of Justice in the Hague, the UN(IAEA) in Vienna, Linklaters (finance law) and Sears Tooth (divorce law).
Her firm, Ayesha Vardag Solicitors, works at the cutting edge of family law in leading cases involving “big money” and complex international issues.