Traditionally a prenuptial agreement has been the go-to legal agreement for couples in the United States of America to sign before their wedding. In the UK it hasn’t carried as much weight until recent years but is becoming a process that many couples insist on before their big day.
A prenuptial agreement is a formal, written legal document that sets out all assets, money and property of two individuals before they get married. It is a structure that explains how the joint estate is to be divided in the event of divorce or separation between the couple.
Historically in the UK a prenuptial agreement can be dismissed by court and although they are still not legally binding, they do carry more weight since the 2010 case of Radmacher v Granatino.
Reasons to Sign a Prenuptial Agreement
One of the biggest reasons people want to sign an agreement before marriage is their concern over money. You might have differing amounts of savings and a different attitude towards spending than your partner and a clear agreement is a good thing for clarity before marriage, and after it if the worst happens and the marriage breaks down.
There are a few reasons why prenuptial agreements are desired, including:
- If there are children from a previous relationship, both parties might want to ensure assets are maintained for those children, protecting their inheritance
- You have children with your partner and wish to ensure that there is a fair breakdown of financial responsibility in the event of a divorce
- Property makes up an important joint asset and it would be difficult to split it 50/50
- Any savings or inheritance you have personally received (or are expected to receive in the future) you would like to safeguard in the event of a divorce or break down in relationship, for you and any children you have
- Either one, or both, of the parties own a business, or have a stake in a business and wish to protect their interests
- Either one, or both, of the parties has personal debt. A debt clause can be inserted into a prenuptial agreement to ensure you cannot be liable for the debt of your partner in the event of a breakdown of your marriage
The Process of a Prenuptial Agreement
If you have decided that a prenuptial agreement is the right course of action for you and your partner there are a few processes that must take place. Firstly, ensure that you have in exact detail every asset you wish to protect, and the defined splits of everything that you will share with your partner in marriage, this can include property, money, savings and belongings. Each couple is different and therefore you should consider a tailored agreement, drawn up by specialist solicitors to ensure the correct legal wording and parameters of the document.
Divorce solicitors have the experience to assist you in making the right choices before you are married. This can include putting together the right sort of protection, for both parties, in the form of a legal written document, or pre-nup. Always consult a specialist in marriage law before commencing with a prenuptial agreement.