Should I make a prenuptial agreement?
Whilst prenuptial agreements may seem unromantic, they are arguably the best way to ensure that should your marriage end, there will be as little conflict as possible over property and money.
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What is a prenuptial agreement?
While they are often regarded as simply a way for rich people to protect their assets when they marry someone less wealthy, that isn't the only purpose of a prenuptial agreement. In fact, a prenuptial agreement can be a good way to start your marriage in a spirit of openness and honesty.
This is especially true if it is drawn up in such a way as to ensure that you would both be able to move on in your lives with financial security in the event of divorce.
Who should get a prenuptial agreement?
It's certainly true that very wealthy people are more likely to seek a prenuptial agreement than those without many assets, but these agreements are also recommended for people in a variety of circumstances, such as:
• You have substantial wealth and assets that you wish to protect
• You run a business and want to ensure its future is protected
• You have children from a previous relationship and want to ring fence assets for them
• You are marrying someone from abroad and want to be protected from financial awards made in another legal jurisdiction
Naturally, there are many other reasons why one or both of you might wish to have a prenuptial agreement. If you are unsure if this approach is right for you, feel free to talk to one of our expert family lawyers who can guide you through the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements.
Is a prenuptial agreement legally binding?
No, prenuptial agreements aren't legally binding in the UK. Having said that, the courts don't dismiss prenuptial agreements out of hand either.
In the event that you disagree over money and property and seek a on divorce in court, the judge will carefully consider any prenuptial agreement you were both party to. They will consider factors such as:
- Did both partners enter the agreement voluntarily?Did both partners understand the implications of the agreement?
- Are the terms of the agreement fair?
- Was there full disclosure of assets and liabilities from both parties?
- Did both parties sign the agreement willingly and without being pressured?
- Did both parties obtain legal advice?
If the answer to all of these questions is 'yes', there is a strong likelihood that a UK court will uphold the agreement.
However, it's wise to make sure that the terms of the agreement really are fair, and that your prenuptial agreement is signed by you both at least 28 days before you marry, but preferably long before you marry, as this not only allows for a 'cooling off period' it will also make it clearer to the court that no last minute pressure was applied and that both parties entered into the agreement of their own free will.
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