Before getting married it is important that you and your future husband/ wife or civil partner consider a pre nuptial agreement.
What is a Pre nuptial Agreement?
It is a document which sets out what you and your future husband/wife or civil partner agree should happen to your finances if your marriage breaks down and you go your separate ways. Pre nuptial agreements can provide a valuable means of helping to protect pre marriage assets, inheritance and existing family commitments such as responsibilities to children from a previous relationship.
What will the agreement cover?
A pre nuptial agreement must set out full details of your assets and income, how they are owned at the time of the marriage and what will happen to them in the event of relationship breakdown. It sets out:
- what will happen to the family home
- how bank accounts and savings will be divided
- provision for pensions
- how business interests will be dealt with
- whether maintenance will be paid ,how much and for how long
Are pre nuptial agreements binding?
Where parties cannot agree on financial issues the Court still has the final say and is able to override a pre nuptial agreement. The Court must consider all the circumstances of the case and decide on what is a fair outcome.
Although it is in the Courts discretion to make an order reflecting the terms of a prenuptial agreement, recent case law has shown that a properly drawn up pre nuptial agreement is an increasingly important factor that the Court will take into account.
What are the requirements for a prenuptial agreement?
- Each party must have independent legal advice
- There must be complete disclosure of each parties finances
- It should be completed in good time before the wedding (at least 2 months if possible)
- There must have been no pressure to enter the agreement
Is it for me?
Pre nuptial agreements are particularly relevant where:
- you have been married before
- there are inherited assets that you would want to protect from a divorce settlement
- you are bringing into the marriage more assets than your partner
- there is a business or business assets that you wish to protect in the event of marital breakdown
- pensions built up before the marriage need to be ringfenced
- there are overseas assets or you are a non UK resident
For more advice on pre nuptial agreements contact one of our family lawyers at your local office.