The decision to get married is an extremely important decision. At this time many important and life affecting decisions are made. It is therefore the perfect opportunity to communicate with your partner about your respective views and understanding of your relationship and what it will hold in the future. By having a prenuptial agreement drawn up will provide some certainty and a clear basis from which you will commence your married life together.
Prenuptial agreements can assist you to clearly establish how your income and capital issues are going to operate. Some examples of what they can cover are below:
- The establishment and operation of joint accounts
- To determine what expenses will be joint and what will be individual
- How inheritances to either of you individually will be treated
- How pre-owned property and assets will be treated
- The financial agreement where there are children involved already born to one of you
Where one of you or both of you have been married previously and are entering into a subsequent marriage, it can be even more important to make these decisions. This is because wealth is likely to have accumulated and may need particular protection.
To understand your options we offer a FREE initial 30 minute no-obligation appointment, so you can discuss your situation and concerns with one of our Family Solicitors. They will provide you with an overview of the process and answer any questions or worries you may have. It will be very helpful if you could bring:
- Identity documents: passport/driving licence and utility bill stating name and address
- Information about your finances – joint and individual
- Pen and paper to write down notes from the meeting
- List of specific concerns that you have
For further information please contact a member of our Family team.
Pre-Nuptial Agreement Formalities
It is very important that the following formalities are followed when preparing a prenuptial agreement:
- Both parties must give full disclosure of their finances.
- Both parties must take separate legal advice. Prenuptial agreements can be tailored to reflect any requirements of a couple but must always be negotiated via solicitors to make them binding.
- The agreement must be signed in good time before the marriage. A period of at least 21 days between signing the agreement and the wedding day is required but a longer period than that is advisable.
- It must be an agreement that both parties enter as willing people – i.e. neither person must have felt pressurised to enter the agreement.
Are Pre-Nuptial Agreements enforceable on a breakdown of a relationship?
It is often said that prenuptial agreements are “not worth the paper they are written on”. Whilst prenuptial agreements are not strictly enforceable in this country, they are certainly becoming more and more influential and persuasive. Financial settlements upon divorce are often worked out according to what is fair according to the Court and legal principles and considerations. The existence of a prenuptial agreement is certainly likely to influence a Court when finances are divided. Prenuptial agreements enable couples to ring fence pre-existing assets, inherited wealth, business, pensions and so on and to therefore clearly impose their own views of what is fair in their own circumstances. Therefore, it gives more control to you.
It is important to appreciate from the outset that certain issues can override an agreement and make it invalid – such as the birth of children, extreme ill health, significant changes in financial circumstances or even simply the passage of time. It is important that periodical reviews can be built into the agreement. Furthermore, prenuptial agreements can be made into post nuptial agreements after the marriage giving further weight to their enforceability.