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An individual seldom enters into a marriage/civil partnership knowing that it will go horribly wrong. More often than not, couples are opting to enter into ‘agreements’ that regulate their financial and non-financial commitments should their marriage end in divorce. Nuptial Agreements are essentially of 3 types and which one is suitable for your needs depends on timing. A prenuptial agreement is one entered into before marriage/civil partnership, a postnuptial is one entered into after marriage/civil partnership and a separation agreement as the name suggests, post separation.
A nuptial agreement is more common where there is un-equality of financial contribution or if protection is required for a particular asset. It also serves to take the heat out of the breakdown of the marriage by agreeing terms in advance. It provides a means of resolving financial and other problems informally without court intervention. Nuptial agreements however are not ‘legally binding’ or easily enforceable and does not achieve the same degree of finality as a court order. However, it is very strong evidence of what the parties intended to be their arrangements in the event of a separation and departing from that agreement would need strong reasons. In any event, it is always recommended to enter into one than not.
There is also a cohabitation agreement which is used after a relationship commences, similar to that of a post nuptial agreement with the difference that it is entered into outside of a marriage and is legally binding, in the same way as a contract.
There are rules relating to the validity of each agreement and we at Freeman Harris can advise you of your position and draw up the appropriate agreement to suit your family needs
A professionally drafted agreement could ensure that your finances and assets are protected
Meet our prenup solicitors
Salma has been qualified as a Solicitor since 2000 and has more than 10 year’s work experience in Family Law. She is head of the department and overseas all family and wills & probate matters.
Marjana is our Trainee Solicitor who deals with Family Law matters. She has a deep understanding of all legal aspects of relationships, children matters and financial disputes.
Contact us for free pre-nup advice!
Common Prenuptial (Pre-Nup) Agreement Questions
I am about to get married, should I get a prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is made before a marriage to set out specific outcomes in case of separation. A prenup is useful if
- you’re bringing in considerable wealth or assets into a marriage and want to retain those if the marriage fails
- you have been married before and want to retain your existing property for your children for example
If your marriage has an international aspect, then it’s also worth making a prenuptial agreement as the financial awards can be made against you in foreign countries.
I don’t have a lot of savings or assets, do I need to make a prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement?
You don’t need to make a prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement if you don’t own substantial finances or assets. If you are expecting to obtain a large amount of money through inheritance, for example, or expect to increase your value considerably then you should look into getting a prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement drawn up.
What should a prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement cover?
The prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement should cover:
- assets such as money, shares, investment pension, etc and how they should they be divided;
- Any property you own and who will be entitled to it;
- any ongoing payments (maintenance) to be paid to your partner and for what time period;
- Child maintenance and related expenses
Who should be used to write a prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement?
A solicitor should be used to draft your prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement. The agreement needs to be carefully researches and examined which is why a solicitor is best placed to create it.
It is unlikely that a court would follow a prenuptial agreement if it is very basic, has faults and you haven’t followed proper legal advice.
Does one prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement cover me and my partner or do we need to have separate agreements?
No. It is important that you and your partner receive independent legal advice. You need to have your own agreement which is then agreed with your partner. As stated above, an incorrect or poorly created prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement will carry no weight in the court.
I am already married, can I get a prenuptial (pre-nup) agreement made?
Yes, its called a postnuptial (post-nup) agreement, and you can find further information about it in the service profile above.