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With 42% of marriages ending in divorce it is natural to agree what should happen in the event of a breakdown of your relationship.
Prenuptial agreements can provide a measure of certainty and the means of protecting pre-marriage assets, inheritance, and existing family commitments such as children from a previous marriage.
Legally, once married all of these assets become matrimonial assets and, unless specifically protected, are thrown into a single financial pot. The primary purpose of a “pre-nup” will frequently be to limit the potential claims on the wealth of one of the parties to the marriage.
Anyone preparing to marry should consider a prenup.
Our friendly, knowledgeable family lawyers have provided expert advice to over 2,000 people in just the last two years. Since Woolley & Co was founded in 1996 over 7,500 clients have trusted us to handle their family law concerns.
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Expert advice about prenups
- Drafting the agreement
- Advice before signing
- Regular reviews
- Impact on children
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What our clients say
Do I need a pre-nup?
If the answer is "Yes" to any of the following scenarios a prenuptial agreement could be right for you.
- I am thinking of getting married and want to protect my property in case it doesn’t work out.
- I am about to marry for the second time and want to limit any potential claims on the settlement I received from my first marriage if things go wrong again.
- I am a widower thinking of marrying again. I want to protect my assets in case things go wrong.
- I am about to marry but worry that if things go wrong we could end up in a costly and lengthy argument about “who gets what”
- I am about to marry for the second time but want to protect my assets to ensure I have something to leave in my will to the children from my first marriage if my new relationship breaks down.
How do I get a prenuptial agreement?
If you have decided to marry don’t leave the prenup to the last minute, make it a priority in your wedding plans. An agreement signed on the way to your stag or hen party is less likely to be upheld than one carefully thought out and signed a few months before.
Both parties must take independent legal advice. This avoids accusations that undue pressure was put on one party or the other to sign the agreement. It also means that both parties can ensure that the party with the most to lose understands the nature and implications of the agreement they are about to sign.
Share detailed financial information
Full disclosure of each party’s respective financial positions must be made prior to the agreement being prepared.
Think carefully about the terms and make the agreement as precise, clear and detailed as possible.
Plan for change
Think about and decide upon how you would deal with changes in circumstance that may arise during the marriage. For example, if you have children, lose your job, receive and inheritance or acquire further assets. What would you want to happen in these instances?
Consider putting in reviews of the agreement at agreed periods during the marriage. The length of the marriage can have a bearing on whether or not the agreement remains enforceable and regular reviews of the provision can help with this.
Will a prenuptial agreement stand up in Court?
When you marry your assets become ‘matrimonial assets’ and, unless specifically protected can be considered for division between you within divorce proceedings. The main purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to limit the potential claims on the assets of one of the parties to the marriage and avoid costly litigation over “who gets what”.
At present a prenuptial agreement does not carry the same weight as a Court order and will not ‘automatically’ be upheld or enforced by an English or Welsh court in the event of a divorce and/or disagreement.
The courts do however take them seriously, as a prenuptial agreement is evidence of your intentions to one another in the event of your relationship breakdown and one of the factors that a court may take into account when looking at all the circumstances of your case.
The Court will carefully consider things like:
- Did the party with the most to lose understand the nature of the prenuptial agreement?
- Did he/she have independent legal advice?
- Was he/she under pressure to sign?
- Was there full financial disclosure?
- Would an injustice be done if the prenuptial agreement were upheld?
Want to know more?
For advice on a prenuptial agreement call Woolley & Co, Solicitors on 0800 321 3832 or request a call using our online form.