Our Guide to Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements can be a difficult thing to discuss and organise; after all, they are not typically romantic.
The last thing most couples want to discuss before they even get married is the possibility that their marriage might one day come to an end, and what they will do if this happens.
Divorce rates are high in the UK. Most couples believe they will never split up but sadly 42% of marriages end in divorce. Therefore, prenuptial agreements can be an effective and healthy way of starting a marriage, with both people accepting that circumstances can change over time and choosing to agree is a practical thing to consider.
Wish to learn more? Read on for our guide on prenuptial agreements and why you might consider signing one before you enter a marriage of your own.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a written agreement that is drawn up by two people before they get married; often referred to as a ‘prenup’.
The purpose of a prenup is to outline how assets will be divided between the two parties in the event of the marriage ending in divorce.
Prenuptial agreements can cover a wide range of issues depending on the particular couple, such as the parties' assets, how pre-marital debts will be paid, cash sums, sentimental items and even inheritance in some cases.
Creating a Prenup
You will begin with you and your partner listing all the things that you solely or jointly own. This includes assets such as:
- Personal income
- Children's inheritance
- Stocks and shares
Seeking Legal Advice for Prenuptial Agreements
It is always recommended that you have legal advice from a solicitor when you are creating a prenuptial agreement. A specialist family solicitor will then be able to advise you and draw up an official agreement with the decisions you have both made together.
Each party must seek independent legal advice of their own to fully understand the legal agreement they are about to enter into and what that means for them and to ensure that it is fair.
Pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in England and Wales, however, the Courts are likely to uphold an agreement if both parties have entered into it freely, have had independent legal advice upon it, and have engaged in voluntary financial disclosure of all assets and liabilities.
How Long Does a Prenuptial Agreement Take?
The length of time it takes to draw up a prenuptial agreement will vary depending on the circumstances of the couple and what they want their agreement to entail, and how long it takes for the parties to collate their documents to engage in voluntary disclosure.
However, it must be completed and signed within a minimum of 28 days before the marriage is due to take place. It is therefore advisable to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Misconceptions About Prenup Agreements
Only for the Rich
Prenuptial agreements are commonly associated with famous or very wealthy people to help them preserve their wealth upon divorce. However, pre-nuptial agreements can be very useful for any couple that wishes to protect premarital wealth and plan for the future.
Pre-Nuptial agreements aim to avoid any disharmony or bitterness later on down the line which can often be associated with divorce. It aims to have a sensible and healthy discussion about what the financial landscape would look like in a divorce. Many find conversations around prenuptial agreements extremely helpful when going into a marriage.
Married life can begin with open eyes about the future of the couple's finances including what that looks like with children in the picture and what future jobs each party may have.
You Can Only Enter into One Before You Get Married
A prenuptial agreement can only be made before the marriage takes place. However, after the marriage takes place you could enter into a post-nuptial agreement.‘ This means it is still possible to draw up a similar agreement after marriage instead of just before and can cover a wide range of assets
Bell Lamb & Joynson
Speak to Bell Lamb & Joynson if you and your partner are considering creating a prenuptial agreement or if you are already married and wish to know how to make a postnuptial agreement.
We can guide you at Bell Lamb & Joynson, we have an expert family law team of solicitors who know everything there is to know about family law including prenuptial agreements. We understand that family relationships can be hard sometimes, so making a prenuptial can help put minds at ease and help for future arrangements too.
Contact us today - one of our specialists in family law will be happy to help you and your partner draw up an agreement that suits both of you and your needs. Our dedicated family law solicitors will provide any help and advice to you wherever you may need it. Our contact details can be found on our website.