03 January 2023

Prenups were often associated with the wealthy or super rich but now that is no longer the case. Dramatic cultural changes taking place during the last 50 years have meant many people are now choosing to marry later in life and have acquired wealth through property and investments. The rise in property prices over the past decades have also transformed ordinary people into millionaires in terms of assets, so what can you do to protect those financial assets if you are contemplating marriage?

What is a pre-nuptial agreement?

It is a legal document drawn up between a couple before their marriage to outline how the assets of each of them will be divided in the event of a divorce

What is its purpose?

To provide clarity for couples as to how their assets will be divided on divorce, it is tailored to the precise needs of each couple.

Why should I have one?

It will help protect your or your spouse’s wealth in the event of a divorce and provides for certainty rather than leaving it to the discretion of the courts

It can deal with:

Any inheritance or future inheritance

Protecting assets for any children of a previous relationship

Retaining control of a business

To protect a trust

Protection from liability for a debt incurred by the other party

What is included?

It will usually contain a full inventory of all of your respective assets and how you wish them to be dealt with in the marriage and how they will be split in the event of a divorce. This will include property, savings in bank accounts, premium bonds, ISA’s, Stocks & Shares, Inheritance, Pensions, Business interests

What is not included?

Child support, where a child will live, how much time a child will spend with the other parent, a child’s religious upbringing, schooling, etc.

How long does it last?

As long as you are married.

Is it legally binding?

A pre-nuptial agreement does not bind the court completely, as it is not possible to oust the court’s jurisdiction. Following the case of Radmacher v Granatino in 2010, there is a presumption that where an agreement is entered into freely, with a full understanding of its implications, it should be followed in the event of a divorce. The exception would be where, in all the circumstances of the case, it would be unfair to do so.

What do I need to do?

Think ahead – at least 5 months (longer if possible) before the wedding speak to one of our specialist solicitors for initial advice, discuss it with your partner and decide what you wish to achieve.

The agreement needs to be signed at least 28 days before a marriage takes place, it is worth making sure that there is sufficient time for discussions leading up to this and the drafting of the document.

Get advice – both parties must have separate legal advice to ensure that there is no evidence of duress and that there was an understanding of the agreement being entered into.

Organise your financial information – the whole of the assets of both of you must be fully disclosed so that there are no surprises, each of you need to know the full extent of the finances of each of you before being able to agree how to deal with them.

For more information contact Lesley Powell on 01935 846089