Pre-Nuptial & Pre-Registration Agreements

Prenuptial (prenup) and postnuptial (postnup) agreements have become a common feature of modern marriages in the UK.

In civil partnerships they are known as 'pre-registration' or  ‘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.

This can bring certainty to couples thinking about marriage or a civil partnership as well as saving time and money should the relationship break down.

Do I need a Prenup?

No one getting married wants to think about separation, but no one wants protracted litigation should a relationship break down. Without a prenup the Courts have a very wide discretion as how they distribute property and income, regardless of the legal ownership, or consideration of who brought what into the relationship. The best way to ensure you protect yourself is to enter into a prenup.

Prenups and postnups are often used by couples who wish to ringfence property or business assets, existing family wealth and investments. Another common reason couples prepare a prenup is to make sure their existing children can benefit from their estate.

Are Prenuptial Agreements enforceable in the UK?

Since the landmark Radmacher case in 2010 prenups are generally enforceable as long as they are fair. 

How do you know if the agreement is fair?  Some basic principles include:

  1. It should be reached and signed well in advance of the wedding 
  2. Both of you should have the benefit of legal advice to make sure you fully understand what you are agreeing
  3. There needs to be full disclosure of your financial position to your partner and vice versa.     

You can learn more about ensuring your prenup will be considered fair by the Court here.

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, legally possible and tax-efficient.

The Courts are unlikely to uphold an agreement that 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.

Legal Advice

For further advice on obtaining a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, please contact Louise Allard or Sabrina Bailey on 020 7993 2936.

Filed Under: Insight

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