You may think that prenuptial agreements are only needed for celebrities; however, if the couple separate later, it can provide clarity on what happens to pre-acquired assets before the marriage and avoid unnecessary conflict and legal costs during the separation or divorce.
Whilst in the Courts of England & Wales, prenuptial agreements are not legally binding, only one of the factors that the Court use to determine a fair and reasonable financial settlement.
A prenuptial agreement can be important where the couple have acquired assets such a property, or have children from a previous marriage or relationship, which they wish to protect from being divided in the event of a marriage breakdown.
In order for prenuptial agreements to be prevailing it would need to:
- There must be no factors which raise a question mark on whether the couple could negotiate the terms of the agreement of their own free will i.e., no pressure from the partner or family members;
- It must be signed as a Deed i.e., signed and witnessed by two unrelated individuals over 18 years of age;
- It must confirm that the couple understand that the agreement will remove the Court’s discretion to make financial orders on divorce except to meet the financial needs of the couple;
- It must not be signed within 28 days of the wedding or civil partnership;
- The couple should provide full and frank disclosure of their financial situation to each other;
- Both partners must have received independent legal advice, i.e., separate lawyers, at the time;
- It must provide sufficient financial provision for children, otherwise it will be set aside by the Court;
- Both partners needs must be met with reference to the standard of living during the marriage, which includes income, a home and capital in the event of a breakdown;
- It should contain a review clause such as when the couple have children, in the event of one spouse/partner’s ill health and inability to work, or after life events, or a certain period of time to make sure it will still meet the parties’ needs.
If you are planning on getting married or entering into a civil partnership in 2023, please get in touch with our family department for specialist legal advice on prenuptial agreements as soon as possible with our Family Law team on 01255 320 555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistant Family Solicitor