What are prenuptial agreements? Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts entered between potential spouses prior to the marriage. Prenuptial agreements in Singapore give the couples some certainty over their respective rights over issues concerning division of assets, spousal maintenance and children’s custody.
Since prenuptial agreements in Singapore are essentially contracts, they must satisfy the legal requirements of contracts. For instance, they must be supported by consideration. They must not have been executed as a result of misrepresentation, fraud, duress, unconscionability or undue influence elements that will render any other contract void.
A prenuptial agreement in Singapore should not contravene any express provision in the Women’s Charter. It is likely that the Court will disregard any prenuptial agreement that contravenes the Women’s Charter. For instance, the welfare of children is of paramount importance and if the parties were to agree on custody arrangements that are not in the best interests of the children, it is likely that the Court will disregard at least this portion of the prenuptial agreement. Similarly, in terms of spousal and children’s maintenance, the Court is bound to refer to the factors in Section 114 of the Women’s Charter. Hence, for prenuptial agreements that run contrary to the factors listed, the Court may disregard the maintenance portions of the prenuptial agreement.
Under the Women’s Charter, the Court has the power to order the division of matrimonial assets in Singapore taking into consideration all circumstances of the case, including the existence of a prenuptial agreement executed by the couple. The prenuptial agreement in the case of TQ v TR was upheld by the highest Court in Singapore. However, the Court of Appeal also warned that this is not a blanket rule that all prenuptial agreements in Singapore will be upheld.
Matters Discussed in Sample Prenuptial Agreement in Singapore
If you have in hand a sample prenuptial agreement in Singapore as prepared by a lawyer, you will see that the usual matters discussed include:
1. Division of matrimonial assets in the event of separation/ divorce.
3. Custody, care and control and access to children.
Using a Prenuptial Agreement Template in Singapore
Technically, you can simply use a prenuptial agreement template in Singapore to prepare your own prenuptial agreement. However, this is not advisable. Laymen who are not legally trained may not know the exact legal requirements of contracts such as a prenuptial agreement. Further, laymen may not be able to word the document properly to give effect to their wishes.
Nonetheless, it will be helpful to take a look at a prenuptial agreement template in Singapore, if you have one. The usual terms of a prenuptial agreement in Singapore includes:
2. How parties should deal with debts and liabilities.
3. Maintenance issues.
4. Children’s issues.
5. Governing law of the prenuptial agreement.
Advantages of Having a Prenuptial Agreement in Singapore
The benefits of having a prenuptial agreement in Singapore includes:
1. Certainty on financial arrangements.
2. Protection of assets.
3. Protection against debts.
4. Protection of family businesses/ heirlooms.
Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement in Singapore
When drafting a prenuptial agreement, it is important to ensure that it does not run contrary to the Women’s Charter. Having an experienced family lawyer will allow you to receive guidance on how to do so.
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