Prenuptial agreements or ‘prenups’ may be able to protect you and your financial assets in the event of a divorce. In November 2020, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that “the divorce rate among opposite-sex couples in 2019 increased to 8.9 divorces per 1,000 married men and women aged 16 years and over from 7.5 in 2018.” Next to Finland, this makes Britain the European country with the highest divorce rate.
What is a ‘prenup’ or prenuptial agreement?
In England and Wales, a prenuptial agreement is a legal document created between two partners before getting married or entering a civil partnership. A prenup may specify the division of financial matters between the two partners should their marriage or civil partnership end in divorce.
What are the benefits of having a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement can help secure your financial future if you divorce your spouse or civil partner. A prenup may, for instance, provide protection over;
- Your income.
- Any financial support you receive for children you share with an ex-partner.
- Your business interests and assets.
- Any property you already own.
- Your family’s inheritance.
- Any pre-marital assets.
- Any of your partner’s past or future debts.
What can I include in a prenuptial agreement?
Before you instruct a solicitor to help you draft a prenuptial agreement, it is helpful to discuss what you want to include with your partner. Consider any assets you own as individuals and jointly, and decide how you would wish to split them if you entered a divorce. Equally, if you do not wish to share certain assets with your future spouse or civil partner, note them down and inform your solicitor so that they can include them in the prenup.
Common assets to feature in a prenuptial agreement are;
- Property, either owned by one partner or jointly
- Pensions and savings
- Investments and stocks
- Personal belongings such as jewellery and cars
- Joint debts
- and any financial matters concerning children from previous relationships.
I’m getting married or registering a civil partnership in the next few months. How long before my wedding do I need to sign my prenup?
You and your partner have to agree and sign your prenup at least 28 days before entering your marriage or civil partnership.
Is a prenuptial agreement legally binding?
A prenuptial agreement is not legally binding in the UK however the courts will consider prenups as one of the factors to take into account when deciding what is a fair financial order and may hold you and your civil partner or spouse accountable to its terms.
The court will consider what weight to give the prenup and will also need to be sure that there had been open disclosure of the parties’ respective financial positions before the agreement was signed and that both parties obtained independent legal advice.
Is a prenup expensive?
To find out costs for having a prenup drafted at Garratts, please contact us on 0161 665 350, or request a callback via our contact form.
How long is a prenuptial agreement valid for?
At Garratts, we advise our clients to have their prenuptial agreements reviewed every five years. However, this is only a recommendation. It does not affect your prenup’s validity. A regular review of your prenuptial agreement ensures that it still seems fair to you and your spouse or civil partner.
If events have changed since you drafted the agreement, you may wish to discuss these with your solicitor.