What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

- Blog, Family Law, News,

Often people carry the misconception that prenuptial agreements are reserved for the rich and famous. They couldn’t be more wrong. If you’re entering into a marriage, it’s important to know your options in the unfortunate event that it does come to an end. In this blog, our expert team will be drawing from their experience to explain what a prenuptial agreement is and how it can help those interested.

What does a Prenuptial Agreement do?

A prenuptial agreement gives you the chance to decide how your assets will be split with your partner if you get divorced in the future. Assets that could be involved in the agreement can include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Your Family Home
  • Money
  • Debts
  • Children
  • Property
  • Inheritance/Trust
  • Savings
  • Business/Assets
  • Other Personal Belongings

As you can see, a prenuptial agreement takes belongings that you both take into the marriage into account, as well as expected future assets like inheritance.

Why might I need a Prenuptial Agreement?

Many people believe that prenuptial agreements are a negative start to a marriage and only used by couples with a large difference in wages. However, wage discrepancies are not the only reasons for prenuptial agreements. Here are some other reasons why people enter these agreements:

If someone is remarrying and has children from a previous relationship, they may want to protect any inheritance that they had put aside for them. A prenuptial agreement can protect this money. If you have a business or investments, it may be important to protect these in a prenuptial agreement so that you can remain in control after the divorce.
As touched on before, future inheritance, dramatic changes to your salary or expected payments can be protected by this agreement.
If one person has spent years saving money before the marriage, they may be wary of this becoming split in the future.
You may be entering into a marriage with someone that has significant financial debts. In a prenuptial statement, you can make it clear that you will not be held responsible for those debts. As a result, nothing will be taken from your assets to pay for these in the case of a divorce.

How does a Prenuptial Agreement work?

In the UK, prenuptial agreements aren’t actually enforceable in the courtroom. However, thanks to the Radmacher v Granatino case in 2010, they now have more weight in the courts. In this case, the judge decided to honour a prenuptial agreement made 10 years before the divorce case was heard. In order to make sure that your prenuptial agreement is seen to be valid, the following criteria must be met:

  • It’s been drafted by a professional solicitor
  • The agreement is seen to be fair and reasonable to both parties
  • Provisions have been made for any children, both alive or yet to be born
  • Both parties have received independent legal advice
  • Each party must offer full disclosure of their assets, liabilities and debts in the agreement
  • The agreement must be entered into at least 28 days before you get married

As the timeframe can often be quite close to the wedding day, some people may find it negative to discuss a prenuptial agreement. However, a great way to tackle this can be to enter into mediation. A professional mediator will have the skills to avoid the conversation getting heated. However, if possible it is easier and cheaper to agree to these matters while things are going well in the relationship.

It’s important to note that if a specific timeframe isn’t specified in the prenuptial agreement, it will be assumed that it’s valid indefinitely.

How Can Salmons Solicitors Help?

Here at Salmons Solicitors, our expert family law department is headed up by Sharon Whiston, who specialises in all aspects of family law. Thanks to her vast experience, she’s fully prepared to answer any queries or questions that you may have regarding a prenuptial agreement.

As discussed earlier, in order for a prenuptial agreement to be seen as valid, a solicitor must be involved in drafting it and both parties should receive legal advice. Sharon and her team can help you through every step of the process. With family legal services operating at fixed costs, there won’t be any hidden costs ahead of the big wedding day either.

Here at Salmons Solicitors, we’re there for you when you’re worried about what the future may hold. We work hard to provide our clients with the best legal advice as part of a professional, friendly and personal service. If you would like to enquire about anything, please contact us.