A prenuptial agreement is an agreement entered into prior to a marriage, which sets out how finances including assets, pensions, and savings should be divided should the engaged couple eventually choose to separate.
Prenuptial agreements are suitable for all couples, regardless of net worth or personal circumstances, but may be particularly appropriate in the following cases:
- If you have assets that would be difficult to divide equally
- If either party owns a business, they wish to retain control of
- If either party has outstanding debt and their partner wishes to remain exempt from that debt
- If either party has children from a previous marriage and wants to ensure that certain assets and inheritances are safeguarded for them
- If either party would like to ensure that they retain control over their financial situation in the event their marriage breaks down
While prenuptial agreements have been legally binding in many European countries for a long time, until recently this was not the case in the UK. However, in 2010 the Court ruled to uphold a prenuptial agreement in the landmark case of Granatino v Radmacher. As a result of this ruling, prenuptial contracts have now become legally binding unless they are deemed to be unfair.
This legal weight means that a prenuptial agreement should not be entered into lightly. Both parties must agree voluntarily to the terms, with a Solicitor providing legal advice and vouching for their client’s understanding of the implications of the agreement. The agreement itself should be drafted by a third impartial Solicitor to ensure fairness.
While most people may have heard of a prenuptial agreement, fewer are aware that it is possible to draw up a postnuptial agreement once you are already married.
Postnuptial agreements are largely the same as prenuptial agreements: they cover the same topics and require the same voluntary agreement from both parties, backed up by a Solicitor’s advice, to ensure validity. One important distinction to note, however, is that postnuptial agreements are not currently legally binding, although they will still be taken seriously by the Court.
What We Can Offer You
It is easy to dismiss prenuptial agreements as cynical, but in reality, they are a sensible admission that the future cannot be predicted. They are also serious legal agreements, and as such should not be entered into lightly.
When thinking about entering into a a prenuptial agreement it is important that both parties seek legal advice from an experienced Family Law Solicitor. Our Family Law team have many years of experience in this field, and our Law Society Family Law Panel Accreditation demonstrates our expertise in all aspects of Family Law, including advising on and writing prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Our Past Cases
Below are some examples of prenuptial and postnuptial agreement cases that our Family Law team have conducted in the past:
- Advising and assisting with regard to a prenuptial agreement to protect assets of clients entering into marriage.
- Drafting and preparing postnuptial agreements in cases of parties who wish to separate and have an agreement regulating how they will deal with their financial arrangements without divorcing.