What is a pre-nuptial agreement?
A pre-nuptial agreement is a document signed before marriage, that sets out the couple’s wishes about money, property and children in the event of divorce. It will be effective from the day you get married. A couple who plan to marry may wish to have a pre-nuptial agreement drawn up, particularly if:
- one party has substantially greater assets or income than the other, in the UK or abroad
- one or both of you want to protect assets you owned before marriage, including business assets, inheritances or family trusts
- one or both of you has children from a previous marriage or relationship and wants to protect personal assets for inheritance purposes
What can a pre-nuptial agreement cover?
Your pre-nuptial agreement will be tailored to your specific circumstances, so we may cover anything you require. We will advise you on what types of provisions are unlikely to be upheld by the court, in the event of a divorce. The focus of the agreement will be family finances, and there are a number of issues we would cover which usually arise on divorce, including:
- property or assets that either of you owned before the marriage
- the home that you live in
- gifts, property given to you or inheritance received during the marriage
- money from joint bank accounts
- money saved or earned during the marriage
- jointly purchased property
- personal belongings or possessions owned before the marriage, or acquired during the marriage
- maintenance payments for either party and or any children of the family
- with whom the children will live
- what will happen if either party passes away during the marriage
A pre-nuptial agreement can set out what who will keep what or how it will be divided if you divorce.
Are pre-nuptial agreements legally binding?
There is a general checklist that the courts can consider when deciding whether to uphold a pre-nuptial agreement:
- both parties should receive independent legal advice to ensure that they fully understand the effects of the agreement
- there should be an exchange of financial disclosure, setting out the parties’ assets and income with documentation in support
- the agreement should make reference to any children of the parties and explain how they will be provided for on separation
- the agreement should be reviewed on the birth of any child or if the parties’ circumstances change significantly, for instance if either party becomes unable to work or there is a significant change in assets
- whether the terms of the agreement are fair i.e. does the agreement provide for each party’s basic needs if you divorce
- whether there was any fraud or misrepresentation by a party regarding the agreement
- the court will consider all the circumstances of the case including any pressure they may be under from each other or third parties
The court will also consider whether legal requirements were followed when the agreement was entered into. The document must be in a specific legal format in order to be valid.
When is the right time to see a solicitor?
We will need to finalize your agreement ideally 21 days before your wedding day. It is important that before that, both parties have enough time to obtain financial information and seek legal advice. If there are foreign assets involved, more time may be required to seek specialist advice from valuers or international lawyers.
Usually there will be a clause included in the agreement, requiring you to return to solicitors if you want the agreement to continue after a certain period. For example, after five years, or when a child is born. This is because the court will be less likely to consider the agreement valid, if your family circumstances have greatly changed since you first entered into the agreement.
Why Adam Bernard Solicitors?
- We have years of experience in handling and drafting pre-nuptial agreements
- Our team of solicitors have an acute attention to detail that will ensure that all eventualities are covered for you to attain your desired results.
- The numerous satisfied customers we have served is evidenced through our client testimonies, proof of our ability in this area of law.