Prenuptial Agreements: What you need to know

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7 February 2020

Prenuptial Agreements: What you need to know

Weddings can be a costly business. 

It’s estimated that in the UK we spend on average £10 billion on weddings every year! 

With engagement, rings, flowers, outfits, venues, honeymoons, and more, the value certainly starts to rise. 

Coinciding with marriage, what were once considered negatively, are prenuptial agreements. 

Today, couples’ attitudes towards finances and assets have changed dramatically, so attitudes towards prenups have also changed for the better. 

No longer set aside for celebrities and the mega-rich, prenups are vast, and are often a normal part of the overall wedding planning process. 

What is a Prenuptial Agreement? 

A prenup is a formal agreement (written) between two people, which is agreed upon and signed before they get married. 

The agreement will include each person’s finances, assets, and property, etc, explaining in detail how these belongings will be split if the marriage breaks down. 

Legally binding? 

A prenuptial agreement in the UK does now carry heavy evidential weight in family court.  This is primarily due to the Rademacher v. Granatino case, which was the first case where a prenup was recognised as enforceable under British divorce law. 

Is a prenup right for you? 

Prenuptial agreements can often be a hard subject to approach, especially if you have different attitudes towards your finances. 

However, these agreements are put in place to protect both you as the individual and you as part of a couple, helping to provide everyone involved with complete peace of mind, if the worst were ever to happen. 

Ultimately, they help clarify the financial rights and responsibilities of each party during the marriage, as well as the division of assets if the marriage was to result in divorce. 

Of course, prenuptial agreements can’t cover everything. For example, if a prenup is deemed unfair to any children from the marriage, then the courts have the discretion to waive any form of agreement in place. 

Prenups also don’t cover anything illegal or anything that goes against public policy. 

Reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement 

  • There are belongings listed that would be difficult to split 
  • You want to protect any children from previous relationships, helping to protect their inheritance rights 
  • You wish to protect inherited money/safeguard substantial savings 
  • You own a business, and you want to remain in control 
  • You want to continue to have your say regarding your finances 
  • If one of you has debt, a debt clause can be added to the agreement to protect the other party from being liable 

Ultimately prenuptial agreements are tailored to each couple, their situation, and their needs. 

The basics will always be present, things such as a full itemisation of belongings with detailed information regarding what happens to them in the event of a divorce. 

More detailed prenups can also outline things such as post-divorce financial arrangements for children – which is an area that is considered very carefully by the courts. 

Divorce with no prenuptial agreement 

Without a prenuptial agreement, it generally means that all assets and property will be split equally between both parties as this is considered as the fairest option. 

However, depending on circumstances and situation, this may not feel fair to the parties involved; hence, a prenuptial agreement can prove to be vital. 

Note: A prenuptial agreement must be signed at least 21 days before marriage for it to be considered as valid. 

Choosing qualified solicitors in Pontefract 

Due to the nature of such an agreement and just what has to go into it, it’s essential to work with a specialised family law solicitor, like JWP Solicitors. 

This is because for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, it has to be drawn up by a qualified solicitor, checked to ensure fairness, and both parties must instruct separate solicitors to avoid any conflict of interest. 

All assets must be disclosed before the agreement is drawn, and both parties must fully understand the agreement and agree to it of their own free will. 

Using the principles of collaborative law helps to draft agreements which are supported by everybody. No one is excluded, and there are no hidden clauses, making the process a much nicer experience for all involved. 

Prenuptial agreements have moved away from being just another form to fill in, so you can keep what’s yours and get out of paying your partner nothing. 

Instead, these agreements can be empowering. Both parties, working together and entering into an agreement freely, protecting both parties without any problems or issues. 

If you would like information relating to pre-or-post nuptial agreements from experienced and trustworthy lawyers or solicitors in Pontefract, call our family law solicitors today. 

Delia Crofts-Turnbull