A prenuptial agreement (sometimes referred to as a ‘prenup’) is a legally binding contract between two people who are intending to get married. It sets out what should happen to finances and property if the marriage ever ends in divorce or separation. In the UK, such agreements must follow strict criteria in order for them to be valid and enforceable.
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My name is Adrian Coggon and I'm a Director and Family Law specialist at John Barkers. My team and I have a wealth of experience in prenuptial agreement law, we can provide expert guidance and support every step of the way.
Many people avoid putting a prenuptial agreement or ‘prenup’, for fear that they are being ‘unromantic’. However, just as you would protect your assets and other interests in your will, or insurance in place for future events, having an agreement drawn up by a specialist lawyer can give you peace of mind, security and confidence.
In business, a shareholder agreement is often in place should any problems occur in the future. Equally, a prenuptial agreement offers future security and allows both parties to a relationship to set out what they intend to happen, in the event of separation. While the majority of couples enter a marriage or civil partnership expecting it to last, this often doesn’t turn out to be the case.
A prenuptial agreement can act as a sensible insurance option. Whilst this is an awkward an issue to broach at the outset of a relationship, often coming across as unromantic, an agreement assists with certainty ad reduces conflict and confusion if things go wrong when a relationship breaks down.
It is correct that Judges have the power to overrule a prenuptial agreement during the divorce process. However, this tends to happen if the Courts believe that the terms stated in the agreement are no longer valid; when circumstances have changed considerably or the terms agreed put children at risk.
An Agreement should be prepared properly and people must enter into the agreement voluntarily, without undue pressure, and be informed of its implications.
This means that each person will need to have independent legal advice on what they would be legally entitled to if there isn’t a Pre-Nuptial Agreement in place, and how the agreement may change this.
It is also important for each person to make full disclosure of their assets (including property, business interests, money in bank accounts, pensions, income) at the time of the agreement. All of this should be done before the agreement is signed.
In most cases, Judges will take the prenuptial agreement into consideration, and even more so if it is clear and specific.
Pre-nuptial Agreements can include anything you want them to, but the main purpose is to set out what will happen to your finances if the marriage were to break down. Common things that are covered in Pre-Nuptial Agreements are:
It is important that the agreement is reviewed every so often, particularly after any children are born, as the Court will take the children’s needs into account first when deciding on a financial settlement. The Court is unlikely to uphold an agreement that does not take the needs of your children into account, or that is detrimental to your children.
There are many reasons why you should get a prenuptial agreement uk, especially if you are planning on getting married in the near future. A prenuptial agreement can protect your assets and property in the event of a divorce, and can also help to keep your financial affairs in order during the marriage. If you have significant assets or property, it is highly recommended that you get a prenuptial agreement uk before getting married.