Money is a highly emotive subject and the suggestion of a prenuptial agreement carries the risk of putting a damper on the romance of your engagement, but it can be very beneficial for you and your partner, and potentially your wider family and your business..
Also known as a prenup, a prenuptial agreement is a formal, written agreement that a couple both sign prior to a marriage. The purpose of the agreement is to set out what the financial settlement would look like if they got divorced, outlining how money, assets and property would be divided between the pair.
A common misconception surrounding prenuptial agreements in the UK is that they are exclusively for celebrities or the extremely wealthy. Regardless of whether you have £30,000 in savings, own millions in property or, alternatively, expect to be successful in your career and want to ‘ringfence’ the fruits of your success, a prenup might be suitable. Pursuing a prenuptial agreement in the UK could be a sensible option to clarify the protection of the personal or business assets you’ve spent years of hard work building up.
Reasons why you should get a prenuptial agreement:
- If your marriage ends in divorce, a prenuptial agreement will allow you to quickly address the most common legal hurdles people face in divorce, enabling a quick, less painful and much less costly resolution.
- If you already have wealth, property, savings, inheritance or even precious family heirlooms, a prenuptial agreement could help provide an extra level of reassurance before entering into a new marriage. Moreover, having a clear and concise agreement in place from the very beginning of your marital relationship can actually lead to clarity, financial transparency and consequently, peace of mind for both parties.
- If you or your partner have previously been through a divorce, you will be worried about what could happen if things go wrong again. A prenuptial agreement will give you confidence that you don’t have to go through the same financial pain, stress and uncertainty again.
- If you are a business owner, a prenup can protect the business from being damaged in the event of divorce (which often happens) which will reassure your business partners and employees.
- If your partner has outstanding debt at the point of becoming married, then pursuing a prenuptial agreement can legally protect you from assuming these obligations when you enter into the marriage.
- A prenuptial agreement can be an incredibly useful tool for protecting the inheritance rights of your children from a previous marriage..
- If during the marriage you or your partner plan to give up a potentially lucrative career to provide full time care to a child or other family member, a prenuptial agreement in the UK can ensure that the person who makes this sacrifice is looked after financially, so that they feel safe doing so.
Is a prenuptial agreement legally binding?
- Prenups aren’t completely binding on the divorce courts at the moment, but if they are done in the right way, they are very heavily influential.
International prenuptial agreements
Nowadays, an international connection is quite common, whether it is you or your partner who come from another country (even as ‘local’ as Scotland), or simply a case of having a holiday home or other assets abroad. If this is the case, it is important to make sure that your UK prenuptial agreement will work in the other country, and it may even be better to have the prenuptial agreement done in that country. In that case, an English family lawyer would still need to check that the prenuptial agreement works in England too.
Taking the First Step
Prenuptial agreements in the UK can take a few weeks to negotiate, depending on the complexity of your finances. If you are the one pressing for a prenuptial agreement, it’s worth starting the process approximately 4-5 months before the big day. If you are considering whether you should get a prenuptial agreement, do pick up the phone for a chat and one of our expert family solicitors will be happy to talk through your requirements and give you expert advice on how to proceed. You should also read our detailed guide to prenuptial agreements which is available to download here.