Close menu
 

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or a "prenup," is a legal contract entered into by a couple before they get married. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to specify how a couple's assets will be divided in the event of a divorce or the death of one spouse. It can also address issues related to spousal support, the ownership and division of property, and the sharing of pensions.

Prenuptial agreements can be useful for couples who want to clarify their financial arrangements before getting married, particularly if one or both parties have significant assets or debts. They can also be useful for couples who want to protect their financial interests in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse.

Click here to contact us about your matter.

What does a prenuptial agreement protect?

Prenuptial agreements can protect a variety of financial interests and assets in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse. Some common provisions that may be included in a prenuptial agreement include:

Division of property

A prenuptial agreement can specify how a couple's assets including property, pensions, savings and investments and chattels, will be divided in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse.

Spousal support

A prenuptial agreement can outline the amount and duration of spousal maintenance (also known as alimony) that will be paid in the event of a divorce.

Business ownership

If one or both parties own a business, a prenuptial agreement can specify how the business will be treated in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse.

Inheritance

A prenuptial agreement can specify how any inheritances received prior to, or during, the marriage will be treated in the event of a divorce or the death of a spouse.

It is important to note that prenuptial agreements cannot generally be used to make provisions for the care and custody of children.

How do I get a prenuptial agreement?

To get a prenuptial agreement, you and your future spouse should both consult with your own separate lawyers to discuss your individual financial situations and the terms you would like to include in the prenuptial agreement. Your lawyers can then draft the agreement based on your specific needs and circumstances. You should each take independent legal advice.

It is important to note that prenuptial agreements are typically only enforceable if they are entered into voluntarily and without duress, with both parties having made full and frank disclosure of their finances. The terms must also be fair and reasonable to both parties.

How can a prenuptial agreement solicitor help me?

A prenuptial agreement solicitor can help you by providing legal advice and representation as you negotiate and draft a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse. Some specific ways a prenuptial agreement solicitor can help you include:

  • Providing legal advice to help you understand your legal rights and obligations under the agreement, as well as any potential risks or benefits associated with the terms of the agreement.
  • Negotiating the terms of the agreement with your future spouse and their lawyers, ensuring that the agreement is fair and reasonable for both parties.
  • Drafting the agreement based on your specific needs and circumstances, and helping you understand the terms and provisions of the agreement.
  • Reviewing the agreement to ensure that it is legally enforceable and that it meets your needs and objectives.
  • If a dispute arises over the terms of the prenuptial agreement, a lawyer can represent you in court and advocate on your behalf.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a prenuptial agreement?

There are both advantages and disadvantages to entering into a prenuptial agreement.

Some advantages of a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Clarifying financial arrangements: A prenuptial agreement can help a couple clarify their financial arrangements and make their expectations about how their assets will be divided in the event of a divorce or the death of their spouse clear from the outset of their marriage.
  • Protecting assets: A prenuptial agreement can help a couple protect their individual assets, particularly if one or both parties have significant assets or debts.
  • Reducing conflict: By setting out the terms of a divorce or the division of assets in the event of a spouse's death, a prenuptial agreement can help reduce conflict and avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.
  • Providing financial security: A prenuptial agreement can provide financial security for both parties, particularly if one party is giving up a career to support the other party's career or to care for children. An agreement can include the division of assets, pensions, and how best to apportion income (through spousal maintenance) to ensure that the parties’ financial needs can be met post separation.

Some disadvantages of a prenuptial agreement include:

  • They are not legally binding: the agreement will be one of several factors taken into consideration by the Court when determining the division of assets. The significance of a prenuptial agreement is as a relevant circumstance of the case, to be weighed by the Judge in each individual case.
  • Unromantic: discussing divorce before the marriage can put pressure on the relationship.
  • Complexity: Prenuptial agreements can be complex and may require the assistance of several lawyers, which can be costly.
  • Emotional difficulties: Negotiating the terms of a prenuptial agreement can be emotionally challenging, particularly if there are significant differences in the parties' understanding of their financial situation.
  • Limited flexibility: A prenuptial agreement can limit a couple's flexibility to make decisions about their assets and financial arrangements after they are married.

It is important for couples to carefully consider the potential advantages and disadvantages of a prenuptial agreement before deciding whether to enter into one. It may be helpful for both parties to consult with lawyers to understand their legal rights and obligations and to determine whether a prenuptial agreement is appropriate for their situation.

How much does a prenup cost?

The cost of a prenup varies depending on complexity and the level of assets. 

How can a postnuptial agreement protect my assets?

If your assets change during the course of the marriage, for example you inherit monies, then you can enter into a postnuptial agreement setting out how those assets will be considered in the event of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements following the same principles as prenuptial agreements.

Want to speak to someone about a prenuptial agreement?

Our highly experienced family law team have a wealth of experience in handling complex prenuptial agreements and can help ensure your assets are safeguarded. To get in touch with our solicitors please complete the enquiry form below and a member of our family law team will be in touch.

Key Contacts

Simon Magner Mawdsley

Simon Magner Mawdsley

Family Law Partner


Simon acts for clients in all aspects of relationship breakdowns including divorce, resolution of financial matters, civil partnerships, cohabitation disputes, pre- and post-marital agreements, injunctions, and children matters.

Lorraine Saunders

Lorraine Saunders

Family Law Partner

Read more
Neil Hobden

Neil Hobden

Family Law Partner

Read more
Richard Barge

Richard Barge

Partner | Head of Family Law

Read more