What is a pre-nuptial agreement?

Tuesday 20th August 2019

pre-nuptial agreement is a formal agreement between two people entered in to prior to their marriage. These agreements set out each party’s financial circumstances at the time they enter into the agreement and how they agree their assets should be divided in the event they were to separate in the future.

Although pre-nuptial agreements are not yet legally binding in the UK, they are commonly upheld and offer peace of mind. It is important to note that whilst pre-nuptial agreements are persuasive they cannot oust the jurisdiction of the Family Court in the event they are deemed to be unfair at the time of a divorce. Pre-nuptial agreements are often entered into when a party brings significant assets into the marriage; for example a business or inheritance. That said, even if neither party has significant assets it is still sensible to consider entering into a pre-nuptial agreement in order to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Pre-nuptial agreements are more likely to be upheld if:

● The parties have provided full and frank disclosure to each other;

● The agreement is reasonable and has been properly drafted by a solicitor;

● Each party has received independent legal advice on the contents of the agreement;

● The agreement has been signed as far in advance of the marriage as possible (at least 28 days beforehand);

● Neither party has been put under pressure to enter into the agreement.

Should any circumstances change during the marriage which the agreement does not provide for (i.e. the birth of a child) it is sensible to consider updating the agreement to ensure the best possible chance of this being upheld by the Court.

If parties are already married but wish to regulate what will happen in the event of a separation, it is possible to enter into a post-nuptial agreement which is the same as above, apart from it is entered into after the date of the marriage. If you would like advice on a prenuptial agreement, please click here for more information or to contact us.

Laura Stocks

Family Law Solicitor