Getting a UK Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is a formal contract between a couple who want to protect their financial assets before they get married.
Many couples may consider a prenuptial agreement as an unnecessary contract that will damage their marriage before it even begins. But the reality of prenups is they are only there to protect your financial assets. Moreover, they can greatly simplify the division of you and your partner’s finances and property in the event of divorce.
Who Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
It is a common misunderstanding that prenups are only for the extraordinarily wealthy. But it is not just billionaires and those with Hollywood status who should enter a prenuptial agreement.
In fact, the prenup contract can be useful for any married couple who have any financial assets. For example, the matrimonial home, inheritance or a car can be considered as a family asset which, if the relationship breaks down, must be divided somehow between the two partners. A prenuptial agreement can secure these assets and make the division of finances much easier if the matter goes to Court.
Additionally, if one or both parties have any financial liabilities such as debt, the other partner can be protected from these with a prenuptial agreement. This way, you may not be responsible for your ex-partner’s debts after your divorce is finalised.
It’s important to note that if you have children, a prenuptial agreement should not affect your parental responsibilities or the child’s welfare. Any parenting disputes, like child living arrangements or contact disagreements must be taken up separately.
In summary, a prenup can offer couples a form of security and certainty before they enter a marriage. With this contract, the division of financial assets can be made much simpler in the event of divorce.
Do Prenups Cause Divorce?
A prenuptial agreement should not necessarily be considered as the sole reason for a divorce. If a marriage has irretrievably broken down, a prenup will usually make proceedings less complicated as the asset division has already been agreed to.
Prenuptial agreements are indeed much more common now as both parties have their own income established before getting married. Many couples marry later in life and are already financially independent. But it is also true more marriages today result in divorce; while we do not assume this would happen, divorce remains prevalent. Therefore, if you want to protect your financial independence, a prenup can be useful.
Is a Prenup Right for Me?
If you want to protect your wealth and assets, a prenuptial agreement can be entered if both parties:
- Freely agree to the contract voluntarily
- Are completely aware of the consequences
- Have no previous circumstances which make the terms of the agreement imbalanced
- Fully disclose all financial assets, property, income and debts
A prenuptial agreement should be discussed openly and honestly long before the marriage takes place. A frank conversation can avoid a prolonged and costly conflict later on.
It is also important to seek legal advice from a family law solicitor. A prenup lawyer is the best person to draw up the contract for you to ensure the agreement is fair and reasonable.
How Much Does a Prenup Cost?
A solicitor’s prenup cost will vary depending on the service you require, as different approaches are necessary depending on the circumstances.
You will not need full Court representation for a prenup. Instead, couples can get legal support to reach their own agreement on a pay as you go basis. This is a much more cost-effective way to draw up a prenuptial agreement, as you only pay for the time required.
Getting a Prenuptial Agreement in the UK
Prenups are not legally binding in the UK. However, after a breakthrough case in 2010, prenuptial agreements are regarded as much more influential by the Court.
The milestone case involved Nicolas Granatino and Katrin Radmacher, who both signed a prenuptial agreement in Germany in 1988 (where prenups can be legally enforced). During the couple’s divorce proceedings, Granatino was due to receive a financial settlement from his millionaire ex-wife. But in 2010, the Supreme Court held Granatino and Radmacher to the terms of their original prenup agreement, and the ex-husband’s settlement was significantly reduced.
The case greatly affected how prenups are viewed in the UK. While they are still not strictly enforceable – at least, for now – the Court is more likely to consider and uphold the agreement.
Prenups are additionally assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances of the contract. The Court generally views a contract drawn up by a prenup lawyer as one which is much more legally sound. A family law solicitor is the best person to create a prenuptial agreement, because they will take the right precautions to ensure its validity.
Precautions for Upholding a Prenuptial Agreement
The Court will take into account the following factors:
- The agreement is fair and reasonable
- Both parties freely agree with it and understand the implications
- Each partner has fully disclosed their financial assets and debts
- The agreement was drawn up at least 21 days before the marriage
If you are looking for the security a prenuptial agreement can offer, contact Major Family Law. Our specialist prenup lawyers can offer expert advice and guidance, with a free initial consultation. If you are already married, consider a postnuptial agreement.