The decision to marry is usually very exciting and once you are engaged, it is natural to get swept away with planning the big day. Focussing on the romance and the wedding, it is easy to forget marriage is a legal contract that gives considerable rights to your spouse.
Should we have a Pre-nuptial Agreement or Pre-Civil Partnership Agreement?
Preparing a prenuptial agreement (prenup) helps you to have the practical conversations that are otherwise easy to avoid, making sure you both have realistic expectations about your respective contributions to the marriage. This can minimise the difficulties you might face down the line.
Prenups have become a common feature of modern marriages in the UK. In civil partnerships they are known as ‘pre-civil partnership agreements’.
A prenup sets out what should happen to a couple’s assets and income in the event that their marriage or civil partnership breaks down. They can help to bring certainty to couples thinking about marriage or civil partnership and they can save time and money should the relationship break down.
Are they enforceable in the UK?
Since the landmark Radmacher case in 2010 prenups are generally enforceable as long as they are fair.
Without a prenup the Courts have a very wide discretion as how they distribute property and income, regardless of the legal ownership and not necessarily with consideration to who brought what into the relationship. The best way to ensure you protect yourself is to enter into a prenup.
What if we are already married?
If you are already married you could prepare a postnuptial agreement. Postnups are often used by couples who did not meet the guidance on timing for completing a prenup, or to ring-fence an asset, such as a business that has been established after marriage. If you or your spouse has a business partner, they might request that you enter into a postnup to protect their interests and you could request the same of them.
Do I need legal advice?
If you are thinking about entering into a prenup or postnup it is important to take legal advice so that you can be sure that what you are agreeing to is fair. The Courts are unlikely to uphold an agreement that does not meet certain criteria and has been signed without both parties having the benefit of legal advice. Only with legal advice can you be confident that the agreement should be enforceable.
For further advice on obtaining a pre or post nuptial agreement, please contact Louise Allard or Sabrina Bailey on 020 7993 2936.
|2 Jun 2017: Do I need a Prenup and do they work?|