A prenuptial agreement provides a clear agreement that can lead to peace of mind for both parties.
They can give you peace of mind if:
You want to protect inheritance or future inheritance, both money and assets
There are assets and/or property that would be very hard to split 50/50
You have children from a previous relationship and want to ensure certain assets are reserved for them and protect their inheritance rights. (It is also crucial to make a will)
Either party own a business which they’d like to retain control of
If your spouse has outstanding debt, a prenuptial agreement with a ‘debt clause’ can protect you from being liable
Are Prenuptial agreements legally binding?
It is important to note that prenuptial agreements are still not legally enforceable in England and Wales – at least for now.
However following the landmark decision in the case of Radmacher v Granatino in October 2010, judges are attaching more weight to prenuptial agreements and are more likely to uphold them, unless they are considered to be unfair at the time the parties get a divorce.
In our experience, a prenuptial agreement is more likely to be upheld if it is signed at least 21 days before the wedding day, its contents are reasonable, clearly not out of date (providing for future children, for example, and preferably a review after a period of time) and if it was properly drafted by a family lawyer with both parties receiving independent legal advice and providing full financial disclosure.
How do I create prenuptial agreement?
When considering if the prenuptial agreement is fair and should be upheld, the court will look at things such as whether both parties understood it properly and if they had enough time to review it before signing. Therefore when a prenuptial agreement is created you need to ensure the following:
To comply with UK law, the pre-nup must be drawn up by a qualified solicitor
Both parties must have separate solicitors to avoid any claim of conflict of interest
All assets must be fully disclosed by both parties
Both parties must fully understand the agreement
Both parties must voluntarily agree to it
Both solicitors must confirm it was entered into freely and knowingly
The prenuptial agreement should be signed at least 21 days before the marriage
I’m getting divorced and there is a prenup in place
When we advise a client about a relationship that has broken down and a prenuptial agreement is in place, we ask certain questions. These include:
How soon before the wedding was the prenuptial agreement signed?
Was any pressure placed on the parties to sign it?
How was it negotiated?
Was there any negotiation at all, or was the agreement imposed on one party?
Was there full and frank disclosure of the finances of both parties?
Did both parties receive legal advice?
Depending on the answers to the above questions, we can then give you advice about how your existing prenup could affect your separation.
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, or you have signed a prenuptial agreement and would like advice, book an appointment today in one of our UK offices.
We're already married but want to sign an agreement
If you are already married and want an agreement in place to define what will happen in the event of the marriage ending, then we advise visiting our page on postnuptial agreements. A postnuptial agreement (or postnup) can effectively do the same things as a prenup, except postnups are signed after marriage has occured.
Lawyer: Jemma Slavin
All of my dealings with Stowe Family Law have been extremely positive. Based on my experiences, the firm’s greatest strength is how well prepared its lawyers are ahead of court hearings, both in financial remedies and private children proceedings. They also appear to care deeply about the outcomes they seek on behalf of their clients while remaining professional and courteous in their dealings.
Client: Legal 500
Lawyer: Nastassia Burton
I am absolutely delighted with the handling of my case and your knowledge. You have been brilliant and helpful.
Client: Mrs S
Lawyer: Jennifer Reddy
Having recently completed Financial Remedy proceedings through Stowe Family Law, I have no hesitation in recommending Jennifer Reddy. Jennifer made the potentially unwieldy legal process considerably less difficult. Her helpful and professional advice meant that I always had a clear understanding of the options available to me, and her support in preparing for my hearing allowed me to feel confident when I went into court. Thanks to Jennifer’s knowledge and guidance, the outcome of my case was far better than I had ever thought possible.
Client: Mr H
Lawyer: Harriet Randall
I cannot recommend Harriet highly enough….I will always be grateful for the support Harriet has given me….and my future is a much brighter place thanks to her hard work.
Client: Mr P
Lawyer: Gavin Scott
Gavin Scott is hardworking and always available night and day. He provides sensible and realistic advice to clients.
Client: Legal 500
Lawyer: Jason Stanley
I can't thank Jason Stanley and the Stowe team enough. Stowe handled my divorce both sensibly and cost-effectively, so when I needed help with Child Arrangements I naturally called Stowe. Jason gave sensible advice, which has given me the right outcome without incurring a huge cost. Communication was always clear and compassionate, and I was aware of all the options at each stage. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Jason and the Stowe team.
Client: Mrs M
Lawyer: Amy Langford
Amy is very professional, honest and reassuring in her approach
Client: Mr F. Smith
Lawyer: Maria Coster
[the team are] friendly, listen and hear what I have to say as a client. As a team, they ensure I have all information for my case as well as some of the administration clarities. They are all extremely professional.