No prenuptial agreement for royal couple

Date: May 05, 2011

The newest royal couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement before saying their vows at Westminster Abbey this week, prompting a number of Australian legal experts to comment on the issue.

Original reports suggested that Prince William was advised to have a legal agreement drawn up, but the groom refused to sign one.

But well-placed royal aides have now dismissed these rumours.

"For him to refuse, it would've had to have been suggested to him by someone and it was not," one anonymous source close to the royals commented.

The source added: "There is no prenuptial agreement in place for this wedding."

Lack of prenuptial agreements have had mixed results for the UK's royal family in recent history. Without such an agreement in place, lawyers need to negotiate a settlement.

While Princess Diana received a £17 million ($26 million) payout following her divorce from Prince Charles, the Duchess of York was awarded annual payments of £15,000 a year from Prince Andrew after their ten-year marriage ended.

According to Fox Business, there are a number of situations in which couples may wish to consider having a family lawyer help them draw up a prenuptial agreement.

While there is a common misconception that these agreements are only for the wealthy, other circumstances may mean that such an agreement is a wise idea.

These include instances where one partner holds assets - including art or property - that are intended to be passed down in their family, a situation where one partner holds a lot of debt or owns their own business, or circumstances where one partner plans to leave a career to take care of the couple's children.

With an increasing number of people waiting until later in life to tie the knot, both parties may enter into the relationship with significant assets.

And legal experts agree that while the subject of a prenuptial agreement may be difficult to broach with your partner, it may be far better to settle issues such as how assets will be divided while you are amicable.

Financial planner Jenny Weaver previously commented to The Australian that binding financial agreements should be regarded as "a form of insurance".

She added that this type of legal document can be viewed by a couple as "a legally binding safety net which they hope to never need".

Parties can choose to enter into a financial agreement at any time - when this is drawn up before marriage, it is known as a prenuptial agreement, but these can also be entered into during the marriage or after divorce.

The agreements can also be made by de facto couples - including those in same-sex relationships.