What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A Prenuptial Agreement, often referred to as a ‘Prenup’, is a document drawn up prior to a marriage to outline how a couple’s finances are dealt with should their marriage come to an end.
What can be included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial Agreements can cover a number of areas, such as;
- What will happen to the property that either of you brought into the marriage and/or the family home.
- What will happen to any expected inheritance of property or money during the marriage.
- What will happen to any assets or possessions owned prior to the marriage or acquired during the marriage.
- What will happen with any debts you may have and how they will be paid.
- What will happen with any pensions you may have and how they will be distributed.
- What kinds of arrangements you wish to make for any children you have, or are likely to have, both in financial and in practical terms.
Are Prenuptial Agreements legally binding?
Prenuptial Agreements are not currently enforceable or ‘strictly binding’ in the UK courts, however, they will be taken into consideration should you wish to divorce in the future. There are a number of steps that can be taken during the process of having a Prenuptial Agreement drawn up that will strengthen the weight that the agreement may have.
First, each of you should set out your financial positions, in full, at the time of the Agreement being drawn up, this is called financial disclosure. Financial disclosure allows everyone to have sight of the full financial picture before reaching an agreement. Further, by disclosing all finances, this ensures that the agreement reached is fair and reasonable and not too heavily weighted in one person’s favour in the event of a divorce. Both individuals should then obtain their own independent legal advice in relation to the agreement at the time it is being entered in to. The agreement must also be entered in to on a voluntary basis without undue pressure being placed upon either of you.
A Prenuptial Agreement should also be drafted, agreed, and signed at least 21 days prior to the ceremony, so that neither party feels undue pressure to agree. It can take time to deal with financial disclosure, negotiations, and legal advice, so it is important to plan in advance. If your finances, or those of your proposed spouse, are complex (for example involving trusts, or international assets) then further time will be necessary and specialist advice may be required from, for example, an accountant or a lawyer in a different country.
If an agreement cannot be reached, in full, prior to the marriage, or enough time has not been left for preparation of the Prenuptial Agreement, then a Postnuptial Agreement is also an option. A Postnuptial Agreement is similar to a Prenuptial Agreement, except that it is made after the marriage has taken place.
Can I enter into a Pre or Postnuptial Agreement if I am in a Civil Partnership?
Yes, you are able to enter into a pre or post-civil partnership agreement.
If you require some advice in relation to a pre or postnuptial agreement, please contact our Head of Family, Monicka Rai at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01296 747 151 to arrange a fixed fee initial consultation.