A prenuptial agreement is a contract that sets out how a couple’s assets will be divided in the event of them divorcing or separating.
Commonly, people seek prenuptial agreements when one person in a relationship has substantial wealth prior to the marriage and seeks to protect that wealth if the marriage fails.
Without a prenuptial agreement, judges determine any financial settlements. This may mean that the financially weaker party receives an improved settlement, or on the other hand it may mean the opposite. The point is, it’s unknown.
Prenuptial agreements are not legally binding in England, but a judge is likely to uphold one if the agreement is fair and was signed properly. There are a few precautionary elements that the judge will consider before deciding whether the prenuptial agreement is safe.
- The husband and wife must have had independent legal advice about the agreement from the start
- Full and frank disclosure of both parties’ assets must have been made prior to signing
- The agreement must not be entered into less than 21 days before the marriage
- There must not have been any pressure or duress inflicted to get either party to sign
- There has not been any significant change which would make the agreement inappropriate (i.e. children)
- The agreement must be fair and realistic
- Prenuptial agreements should be reviewed and amended during the course of the marriage, especially when children come into the equation
If the above statements are not satisfied then the judge is unlikely to uphold any prenuptial agreement.
If you need advice on preparing into a prenuptial agreement, please contact our family law team. If you have been asked to sign a prenuptial agreement you must take legal advice as to whether it is fair and reasonable. You should also seek advice on the potential impact it could have on your finances in the future.
Nobody ever plans to get divorced but the sad fact is that a third of marriages fail. If you have significant assets or have children from a previous marriage, it makes sense to protect your wealth with a fair and reasonable prenuptial agreement.
Contact our family law team now to discuss your prenuptial agreement requirements. We can help you draft a solid prenuptial agreement that has a good chance of being upheld in court.