Joanne Major, Principal of the Leading family law specialists, Major Family Law comments on Prenups in the Accent magazine as follows:-

What is it?

A Prenuptial Agreement, commonly referred to as a prenup, is a formal written agreement entered into by a couple in anticipation of them getting married, which sets out the terms of possession of assets, the treatment of future earnings and the control/ownership of property between the parties in the event that the marriage later ends.

Aren’t they just for the rich and famous?

Although prenups probably get the most publicity when associated with wealthy celebrities, you should consider having a prenup if you tick any of the following:-

You have assets such as a home, savings, or investments
You own all or part of a business
You are likely to inherit money or property from a will
You have children from a previous marriage
One of you is more affluent than the other
One of you will be supporting the other financially, either temporarily or indefinitely
You have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents

How do I go about getting one?

The most important thing is to broach the subject with your intended as early as possible. You need to be as honest and open as possible from the outset.

If you didn’t want children or dogs that would probably come up in conversation fairly early in the relationship – and almost certainly before the proposal. Same with prenups. It’s also important to explain clearly why you think it is of benefit, in order to avoid the accusation that you’re essentially suggesting a bad ending is possible before the marriage has even started.

And if they agree, then what?

Once you have both set out in full your respective financial positions, and agreed broad terms of how property, assets and income would be divided, you should each consult a separate family law solicitor for independent advice and help in drawing up the terms of the agreement to be signed.

And are both parties then bound by the agreement?

The current law is that the enforceability of a prenup is subject to the discretion of the Court, but the Court will give effect to a prenup properly drawn up and on which both parties have sought legal advice, unless there are circumstances to suggest it would not be fair to hold the parties to the terms.

Of course, if you stay together, then you will never need to use the agreement anyway!

For more information and advice on prenuptial agreements, contact Joanne Major who is the Principal at Major Family Law, the Divorce and Family Law Specialists, 12 West Road, Ponteland, Newcastle Upon Tyne. T: 01661 82 45 82 Twitter: @majorfamilylaw