All You Need To Know About Prenuptial Agreements

29 April 2022

Prenuptial Agreements (Prenup) are created and signed prior to a marriage or civil partnership. The intention of the Prenup is to safeguard the couple’s individual assets and plan how to split finances, assets and child arrangements, in the event of a divorce.

What does a Prenup cover?

Prenups can cover matters including the matrimonial home, properties bought prior to marriage, valuable (sentimental or monetary) assets, inheritance, debts, future anticipated earnings and businesses.

Prenups can also cover any children in the marriage, whether from previous relationships or the current relationship, their relation to any inheritance, who the child lives with and which party covers which costs in relation to the child. A Prenup cannot be used to limit or remove parental financial responsibility towards a child.

How long before getting married should the Prenup be signed?

The final draft of the Prenup should be signed no less than 28 days before the wedding day. We recommend starting the Prenup process around six months before getting married, as it will allow time for negotiations and reviews.

When does a Prenup become effective?

Prenups become effective when you and your partner enter into a valid marriage together.

Does the Prenup need to be witnessed?

Yes, Prenups needs to be witnessed by two independent third parties over the age of 18. There should be one witness for each party of the agreement, and they will be expected to state their job title and address along with their signature.

Do I need to give financial disclosure?

Yes. Prenups include a declaration that each party has provided financial disclose, in addition to a schedule summarizing that disclosure.

Is the Prenup legally binding?

Contrary to popular belief, Prenups are not legally binding in the UK. They do, however, hold a significant weight and will usually be taken into consideration by the Court when assessing the finances. The Court will take into account the terms of the Prenup and whether they are both reasonable and fair. The Court will take into consideration whether the circumstances of the marriage have changed and whether the terms are still fair. For that reason, it is important that the Prenup tends to both parties and any children fairly. The Prenup will be invalid if found to be biased towards one party or if formed under duress.

You will, however, have to sign a statement declaring that you intend the Prenup to be legally binding.

Some points to consider when arranging a Prenup

Properties, inheritance, trusts, savings, pension, debts

  • Any properties either party brought into the marriage
  • The matrimonial home
  • Any properties inherited or gifted to you during the marriage
  • Any income or assets derived from trusts
  • Joint bank accounts
  • Jointly owned properties
  • Personal assets acquired before or during the marriage, including assets of sentimental value
  • Any savings
  • Pensions
  • Any debts acquired before or during the marriage

Future payments, child arrangements

  • Whether either pay will receive maintenance payments and for how long
  • Arrangements for any children or future children, both financially and practically (who they may live with, etc.)
  • Any provisions for children from previous relationships

Death of either party

Arrangements you wish to make should either of you die during the marriage, and whether you intend to make a Will with a provision for either of you in the event of death

Other

  • What events may require the Prenup to be reviewed
  • Whether you wish for the Prenup to be confidential (you do not want your partner to discuss the contents of the agreement with any third party, unless taking legal advice)
  • Who will pay the costs regarding the preparation of the Prenup
  • A Prenup cannot provide that the Court will not be able to consider financial issues in relation to the marriage. Neither party can, therefore, agree that they will not make an application for financial provision from the Court.

Are you considering a Prenup or a similar agreement and are looking to speak to a trusted specialist? We are here for you so get in touch today and together we can make sure you are in a good and secure position.

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