A Prenuptial Agreement is an agreement entered into by a couple before their marriage or civil partnership which seeks to describe what should happen in the event that their marriage or civil partnership breaks down.
Prenuptial Agreements have now become more popular, particularly where one individual has more assets than the other. The content of a Prenuptial Agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for the division or protection of property and assets in the event of divorce, dissolution or long-term separation.
Prenuptial Agreements are currently not legally binding in England and Wales within divorce or dissolution proceedings, but if properly entered into they are now very likely to be taken into account by the Courts when considering a settlement. This law may change in the future.
Any agreement should be entered into no less than 21 days before the day of the marriage or civil partnership to avoid allegations of duress. It is important to ensure that both parties obtain independent legal advice, and that you are both fully aware of all the financial circumstances by way of full financial disclosure by both parties. Provision must also be made for dependents or children from previous relationships.
It is important to remember that a change in circumstances, such as the birth of a child or the needs of one party, may make the agreement less persuasive. The court will ultimately retain discretion to decide how the assets should be decided on divorce or dissolution.
A postnuptial agreement is an agreement reached after the marriage or civil partnership has already taken place. A postnuptial agreement may carry more weight with the court than a prenuptial agreement as the parties have already married or entered a partnership. Often a prenuptial agreement is converted into a postnuptial agreement after the wedding.
We can help you by:
- Advising you about the legal implications of marriage or civil partnership
- Advising you on your legal position and how best to protect your assets
- Helping you to negotiate the terms of your agreement and exchange financial disclosure
- Drafting the prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement for you
- Advising you on the enforceability of your prenuptial agreement on separation
- Advising you of the likely legal costs involved