Prenuptial agreements in The Bahamas

Prenuptial agreements in The Bahamas

Marriages are increasingly preceded by pre-nuptial agreements, not least because of the recent exposure they have attracted following high profile court cases.  Whilst pre-nuptial agreements are not currently enforceable, the courts will likely take the terms of such agreements into account when determining the true intentions of the parties in financial proceedings.

If you are considering a pre-nuptial agreement the legal issues are complex and you should take legal advice before doing so.  Our advocates at Parris Whittaker are experienced family lawyers and will give you the best advice for your particular needs.

The first test case in the Bahamas where a prenuptial agreement was at issue took place in November 2010 following a six-year battle. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of a pre-nuptial agreement: the Wife lost her battle to throw out the agreement and the Husband got to keep the assets he held before the marriage.  Although he was not excused from his financial responsibility towards the Wife, the court upheld the agreement as valid. 

Notably, Chief Justice Michael Barnett ruled that the Husband wanted to protect his assets and the Wife was fully aware on advice of what she was doing when she signed the prenuptial agreement.

But what is a pre-nuptial agreement? 

 

It is a formal agreement between two parties before they enter into marriage setting out who owns what assets and how the parties might divide those assets in the event of future separation or divorce.  They are not legally binding per se but considerable weight is now attached to them in potential court proceedings.  The UK’s Supreme Court recently ruled in relation to a pre-nuptial agreement and, as a result, the courts will hold parties to the terms unless it can be proved that:

  • the agreement was not entered into freely by each party
  • the parties did not have a full appreciation of the implications of the agreement at the time of signing it
  • it would be unfair to hold either party to the agreement

If you wish to make a prenuptial agreement it is important both parties obtain independent legal advice and that there is full and frank disclosure about both assets and income. All material information must be disclosed otherwise the parties cannot be said to have been fully aware of the financial implications of the agreement.

Crucially, both parties must clearly intend that the agreement should regulate the financial consequences if the marriage ends.  The agreement must, of course, be both realistic and fair otherwise it may not be upheld in the event of court proceedings.

Pre-nuptial agreements should also cater for potential future changes and should ideally only last until the birth of a child or, alternatively, for a fixed term - otherwise, there will be a much lower chance of a court upholding the terms.

For expert legal advice, consult the experienced family legal professionals at ParrisWhittaker.  We will take full information from you in order to advise you honestly and frankly on the terms of an adequate pre-nuptial agreement that will best protect your interests and give you peace of mind.

Contact us info@parriswhittaker.com