Prenuptial Agreement Specialists

Money can be a very emotionally charged subject, so it is worth understanding both parties views on it before getting married or entering into a Civil Partnership – this is just where a prenuptial agreement can help.

 

Prenuptial agreements

If you’re getting married or entering into a Civil Partnership and considering whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you, then we can help.    We can look at your individual situation and help you to consider what assets you might like to protect on entering into marriage.  For example, if you have children from a previous marriage you may wish to protect assets for them.  Whatever your circumstances we can help you to come up with an agreement that suits both you and your partner so that you can have peace of mind going forward.

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Understanding Prenuptial Agreements: A Comprehensive Guide

In the realm of love and commitment, discussing the possibility of separation may seem unromantic, yet it is an essential part of financial and emotional planning for many couples, providing clarification, certainty, and protection. It can protect assets owned before the marriage or civil partnership, inherited assets and gifts received by one party during the marriage or civil partnership.

A prenuptial agreement, often referred to as a prenup, is a legal document that outlines the financial arrangements and division of assets in case of divorce. In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of prenuptial agreements, including the key components, what is usually included in a prenup in England and Wales in the UK, prenuptial agreement templates, costs, and the possibility of creating one after marriage.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement signed by a couple before they marry or enter a civil partnership. It serves as a safeguard for both parties, outlining the financial rights and responsibilities each spouse will have in the event of a divorce of one of the partners. Prenups can be a valuable tool in providing clarity and protecting individual assets and interests in the event of a breakdown of marriage or civil partnership.

Those in a civil partnership may enter a pre-civil partnership or pre-registration agreement but for the purposes of this guide prenup refers to both marriage and civil partnership. 

 

Key Components of a Prenuptial Agreement

A well-crafted prenuptial agreement should cover a range of financial and legal aspects. It can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Ownership of property: The prenup should set out which party owns or will own certain assets in the event of divorce or dissolution, often referred to as matrimonial and non-matrimonial or joint and separate property.

Asset Division: The prenup should specify how assets, such as property, investments, and personal possessions, will be divided in the event of a divorce.

 Alimony or Spousal Support: It can define the terms and amount of spousal support, if any, that one party will provide to the other after divorce.

 Debts and Liabilities: Prenuptial agreements can outline how debts and liabilities acquired during the marriage will be handled.

 Inheritance Rights: It can address whether one spouse retains the right to inherit the other’s assets in the event of death.

 Child Arrangements and Financial Support for Children: If not agreed, the family courts and Child Support Agency retain ultimate decision making authority on those child arrangements and the level of financial support provided by the non-resident parent a prenuptial agreement can specify the preferences of the parties involved.

 Financial Responsibilities: It can clarify the financial responsibilities of each spouse during the marriage.

 

Additional Clauses: Depending on individual circumstances, couples can add specific clauses to address unique financial concerns, like business ownership, intellectual property, or investments.

Prenuptial Agreement Example

To illustrate the concept further, let’s consider a prenuptial agreement example:

John and Sarah, a couple residing in England in the United Kingdom, have decided to create a prenuptial agreement. John is a successful entrepreneur with significant business assets, while Sarah is a doctor with substantial student loan debt. In their prenup, they agree:

  1. John’s business assets will remain his separate property, and Sarah will have no claim to them in the event of a divorce.
  2. They will share household expenses equally during their marriage.
  3. In the case of divorce, Sarah will receive a lump sum payment of £20,000 for each year they were married as spousal support, but not exceeding a total of £200,000.
  4. Neither party will inherit any of the other’s assets upon death; they will retain their respective inheritance rights.

This example showcases how a prenuptial agreement can address the unique financial circumstances and concerns of a couple.

Prenuptial Agreement in the UK

In England and Wales, a prenuptial agreement is presently not directly enforceable, as the family court retains ultimate control over how matrimonial assets are divided upon divorce or dissolution. However, where the prenuptial agreement is challenged by one party and it meets the following qualifying criteria, it will likely be upheld by the courts: 

– The agreement is validly executed as a deed and contains a “relevant statement”; and

– it must not have been made within 28 days immediately before the wedding or civil partnership ceremony; and 

– Both parties have provided their agreement freely, their consideration for the terms, with an intention to create legal relations and with a full understanding of its implications; and

– The agreement is fair and considers the needs of any children; and 

– Both parties received independent legal advice before signing the prenup; and 

– There was full disclosure of assets and debts at the time of the agreement.

Prenuptial Agreement UK Template

Creating a prenuptial agreement in England and Wales in the UK usually involves consulting with a family lawyer to draft a personalised document that aligns with the couple’s specific circumstances. However, there are templates available that can serve as a starting point for discussions. These templates can help couples understand the types of clauses and considerations that should be included in a prenup. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to note that a template should be a guideline, not a substitute for professional legal advice. 

 

Prenuptial Agreement Cost

The cost of creating a prenuptial agreement in England and Wales in the UK can vary significantly. The factors influencing the cost include the complexity of the agreement, the expertise of the legal professionals involved, and the region in which the couple resides. On average, the cost of a prenup can range from a thousand to several thousand pounds. The cost is typically higher when dealing with more complex financial situations or unique clauses.

It is essential for couples to budget for the legal fees associated with a prenuptial agreement and be prepared for potential negotiations and revisions during the drafting process. While it may seem like a sizeable expense, a well-structured prenuptial agreement can save both parties time and money in the long run by providing clarity in case of divorce or separation.

 

What Cannot Be Included in a Prenup in the UK

While prenuptial agreements in England and Wales in the UK can cover various financial aspects, there are certain things that cannot be included in a prenup. These include:

Child Arrangements and Financial Support for Children: If not agreed, the family courts and Child Support Agency retain ultimate decision making authority on those child arrangements and the level of financial support provided by the non-resident parent a prenuptial agreement can specify the preferences of the parties involved.

Unreasonable Clauses: The courts may invalidate a prenup if it contains unreasonable or unfair clauses. For instance, clauses that restrict one spouse from seeking financial support after divorce may be deemed unfair and unenforceable.

Assets Not Disclosed: If one party fails to disclose all their assets and debts during the drafting of the prenup, the agreement may be invalidated. Full disclosure is a legal requirement in England and Wales in the UK.

Influence of Duress or Pressure: A prenuptial agreement should be signed voluntarily, without undue influence or pressure from one party. If it can be proven that one party was coerced into signing, the prenup may be invalidated.

 Child’s Interests: Prenuptial agreements should not prejudice the financial claims of a child from the marriage, and they should take into account the child’s best interests.

 

Prenuptial Agreement After Marriage

It is possible to create a postnuptial agreement, which serves a similar purpose as a prenup but is drafted after marriage has occurred. Postnuptial agreements are often used in situations where couples did not create a prenup before marriage, or where they want to modify or update the terms of an existing prenuptial agreement. Like prenups, postnuptial agreements can address various financial aspects, including asset division, spousal support, and financial responsibilities.

 

Creating a postnuptial agreement in England and Wales in the UK involves a similar process to that of a prenup, including the need for full disclosure, independent legal advice, and fairness in the

terms. However, it’s important to note that the enforceability of postnuptial agreements can be more challenging than prenuptial agreements, and they are subject to court scrutiny.

 

The Emotional Aspect of Prenuptial Agreements

While prenuptial agreements primarily deal with financial and legal matters, they can also have emotional implications. Discussing a prenup can be a sensitive and potentially challenging conversation for couples. It is essential to approach this discussion with empathy, understanding, and open communication.

Couples considering a prenuptial agreement should view it as a tool for protecting both parties’ interests and ensuring that financial matters are clear and equitable. It is not a prediction of the marriage’s failure but a responsible step in financial planning.

 

Prenuptial agreements, often colloquially referred to as prenups, are valuable legal tools that can provide clarity and protection for couples in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse. They outline the financial rights and responsibilities of each party and can be tailored to fit a couple’s unique circumstances.

 

In England and Wales in the UK, prenuptial agreements are usually upheld by the courts if challenged, providing if they meet specific criteria, ensuring fairness, transparency, and informed consent. Prenuptial agreement templates can be helpful as starting points, but professional legal advice is crucial for drafting a comprehensive and reliable agreement.

 

While discussing a prenup can be an emotionally sensitive topic, it is a responsible step in financial planning that can benefit both parties. Whether created before or after marriage or civil partnership, prenuptial agreements can provide peace of mind and financial security, should the unexpected happen. Understanding the intricacies of prenuptial agreements empowers couples to make informed decisions and protect their financial interests while preserving their emotional well-being.

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What can I expect?

Pre-nuptial agreement are still not directly enforceable in English law. However, should such a written agreement be properly executed and all the parties properly advised, a pre-nuptial agreement can be a qualifying agreement and treated as a relevant factor in any subsequent claim for financial provision on the breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership. These qualifying agreements are becoming highly persuasive in financial breakdown of marriage and civil partnership.

Key facts about prenuptial agreements

If your marriage or civil partnership breaks down and you need to call on your pre-nuptial agreement the following points will be considered by the court, when deciding if it’s a qualifying agreement:

  • The timing of the pre-nuptial agreement before the wedding
  • The parties entered freely into the agreement without any sense of duress
  • The agreement was actively negotiated without imposition
  • The parties received legal advice on the terms of the agreement
  • There was full and frank financial disclosure before the agreement was made

What happens if I get a divorce or civil partnership dissolution?

No agreement between the parties can override the legislation or prevent the judge from deciding on the appropriate division of assets on a divorce. This means a pre-nuptial agreement cannot stop a spouse applying to the court for financial provision from the other spouse. Any “waiver” of the right to apply to the court for financial provision in an agreement will not be effective.

How would a judge view a prenuptial agreement?

The significance of a prenuptial agreement is as a relevant circumstance of the case, to be weighed by the judge. A prenuptial agreement will have a substantial impact on the judge’s decision in many cases. The Supreme Court said in Radmacher v Granatino that the court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement.

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