What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a written contact a couple enter into prior to their marriage, in order to set out their intentions as to the ownership of assets, debts, incomes and inheritances and how these will be divided if a separation occurs.
Whilst prenuptial or premarital agreements cannot override the discretion of the Court when deciding financial matters upon divorce, judges will now take the terms of these agreements into account as a relevant factor when deciding such issues. They can provide strong evidence of the intentions of both parties about what should happen in the event that the marriage breaks down. Judges may decide it appropriate to uphold a prenuptial agreement so long as certain court guidelines have been followed when the agreement is being prepared.
Why might I need a prenuptial agreement?
There are a number of reasons why you might want a prenuptial or premarital agreement, such as:
• To protect assets which you have acquired before getting married;
• To ring fence an inheritance that you want to stay within the family;
• To provide certainty and avoid conflict in case the relationship ends; or
• To protect specific assets, such as a business.
The validity and enforceability of prenuptial or premarital agreements will depend largely upon the document being properly drafted in good time before a wedding and with both parties having full and frank disclosure of the financial position of the other at the time.It is also important that both parties have taken independent legal advice and any other expert advice as may be necessary.
Our expert team of lawyers can assist you with the preparation of a prenuptial agreement, or advice on a prenuptial agreement that has been prepared by your future spouse. We can offer you fair and easy-to-understand advice about the issues to consider when entering into a prenuptial or premarital agreement and can negotiate the terms of such agreements on your behalf.
As any existing will is automatically revoked on marriage, we can also offer you support from our Wills, Trusts & Tax Planning team. We have strong links with local tax and pensions experts for additional advice if required.
If you are already married and want to ensure that certain financial assets are secured for your future in case anything should happen, our team of expert solicitors will also be able to discuss postnuptial agreements with you.
For further information please contact one of the team.
We have advised a client who had assets from a previous marriage and who was considering re-marrying. We prepared a prenuptial/premarital agreement in order to preserve the assets which the client had secured from the previous divorce proceedings for the benefit of his children. We worked with our private client department to provide protection to various family trusts as part of the prenuptial/premarital agreement.