What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is an agreement entered into prior to a marriage, which sets out how finances including assets, pensions, and savings should be divided should the engaged couple eventually choose to separate.
Prenuptial agreements are suitable for all couples, regardless of net worth or personal circumstances, but may be particularly appropriate in the following cases:
- If you have assets that would be difficult to divide equally
- If either party owns a business, they wish to retain control of
- If either party has outstanding debt and their partner wishes to remain exempt from that debt
- If either party has children from a previous marriage and wants to ensure that certain assets and inheritances are safeguarded for them
- If either party would like to ensure that they retain control over their financial situation in the event their marriage breaks down
While prenuptial agreements have been legally binding in many European countries for a long time, until recently this was not the case in the UK. However, in 2010 the Court ruled to uphold a prenuptial agreement in the landmark case of Granatino v Radmacher. As a result of this ruling, prenuptial contracts have now become legally binding unless they are deemed to be unfair.
This legal weight means that a prenuptial agreement should not be entered into lightly. Both parties must agree voluntarily to the terms, with a solicitor providing legal advice and vouching for their client’s understanding of the implications of the agreement. The agreement itself should be drafted by a third impartial solicitor to ensure fairness. If you require assistance, get in touch with one of our specialist prenuptial agreement solicitors.
What will a Prenuptial Agreement include?
Prenuptial agreements can cover a variety of issues. When preparing an agreement, prenuptial agreement solicitors should advise you on what is appropriate to include. This can include, but is not limited to, the following:
Property: A prenuptial agreement should cover property each spouse brings with them into the marriage, as well as what will happen to the family home in the event of divorce.
Money: Both money and investments held separately, and savings and other money kept in joint accounts should be accounted for in a prenuptial agreement.
Debts: A prenup should not just safeguard each partner’s existing assets, but also protect against debt liability should one spouse build up debts.
Children: A prenuptial agreement can also be used to dictate what rights children from a prior marriage have to any property or assets in the event the current marriage breaks down.
Inheritance: A prenup can be used both to ring-fence assets one partner intends to pass on as inheritance and to protect the expected future wealth either spouse may gain as a beneficiary of inheritance.
While most people may have heard of a prenuptial agreement, fewer are aware that it is possible to draw up a postnuptial agreement once you are already married.
Postnuptial agreements are largely the same as prenuptial agreements: they cover the same topics and require the same voluntary agreement from both parties, backed up by a solicitor’s advice, to ensure validity. One important distinction to note, however, is that postnuptial agreements are not currently legally binding, although they will still be taken seriously by the Court.
How Our Prenuptial Agreement Solicitors Can Help
It is easy to dismiss postnuptial or prenuptial agreements as cynical, but in reality, they are a sensible admission that the future cannot be predicted. They are also serious legal agreements, and as such should not be entered into lightly.
When thinking about entering into a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement it is important that both parties seek legal advice from an experienced family law solicitor. Our family law team have many years of experience in this field, and our Law Society Family Law Panel Accreditation demonstrates our expertise in all aspects of family law, including advising on and writing prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
One of our experienced and accredited prenuptial agreement solicitors will have an initial consultation with you to discuss your situation in more detail. Once we understand your circumstances better, we can provide you with a clearer understanding of how we can help you. We will also provide you with a price quotation and a choice of funding methods at the outset.
Get in touch with our Prenuptial Agreement Solicitors
Call 0800 086 2929, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our Free Online Enquiry Form to arrange an initial consultation and let one of our experienced prenuptial agreement solicitors explain your legal rights and options.