The Pros and Cons of PrenupsSeptember 13, 2017
What is a prenup?
A prenuptial agreement is a document which sets out how an engaged couples’ possessions will be divided in the event that their marriage breaks down.
Are they legally binding?
At the moment prenuptial agreements are not automatically legally binding in the UK. In the event your marriage breaks down the family court will still retain the power to redistribute the family assets in order to achieve a fair outcome that meets both yours and your spouses’ needs.
What is the point of a prenup if I can’t enforce it?
Whilst a court would not automatically hold former spouses to all of the terms of a prenuptial agreement this does not mean that it would be disregarded. In recent years there has been a huge move towards prenuptial agreements being accepted by the court providing the terms of the agreement are not considered unfair. A prenup that has been properly prepared by a solicitor should give you a reasonable level of protection and can be helpful to demonstrate a common intention and to identify non matrimonial assets.
What should we include in our prenup?
Your prenuptial agreement should set out what your current assets are and what your joint intention is in respect of how these and any future assets will be divided between you if your marriage breaks down. The agreement can also deal with whether one party will pay financial support to the other and for how long.
Is it only millionaires who need a prenup?
The short answer is no. Prenuptial agreements can be useful in a variety of situations. We would recommend that you consider a prenup in the following situations:
- You are bringing assets into a marriage (e.g. a house or investments in your sole name)
- You have assets that might be difficult to split e.g. a business
- You wish to protect inherited or gifted monies; or
- You have children from a previous relationship and wish to protect their future inheritance.
When should I get advice about whether a prenup is right for me?
It is important that the decision as to whether a prenup is suitable for you is taken well in advance of your wedding day. In order to increase the validity of the agreement both you and your future spouse will need to disclose your assets and then take legal advice on the drafting of the agreement. The final document once agreed will need to be signed no less than 28 days before your wedding date. If you are already married and do not have a prenup in place you may still be able to enter into a post-nuptial agreement. Our family finance team at Burroughs Day will help to guide you through the process and consider whether a prenup or postnup is right for you.