Prenuptial Agreements – An Essential Guide

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A  Prenuptial Agreement is a written agreement between two people who are intending to marry which makes provision for the division of their assets and income in the event of a divorce.

It can be difficult for a person who is planning to marry to broach the subject of a Prenuptial Agreement with their partner. Having such a conversation can often seem mercenary or unromantic. However, a well drafted Prenuptial Agreement can avoid the uncertainty which results if the Court is left to determine the division of assets and income.

Here are some common situations where a Prenuptial Agreement can be particularly appropriate and effective in order to prevent/reduce claims from the other party:-

  • a party owns a property acquired before the marriage
  • a party has inherited wealth or may receive a significant inheritance during the course of the marriage
  • a party’s parents or other family members have contributed money towards the purchase of the family home
  • a party is a high earner

At the moment Prenuptial Agreements are not legally binding, which means that a judge dealing with the divorce does not have to uphold the terms of the Prenuptial Agreement if s/he does not think that they are fair and appropriate in all of the circumstances of the case. There are steps which can be taken to give the Prenuptial Agreement the best possible chance of being upheld, should the marriage end in divorce. These include the following:-

  • the Prenuptial Agreement is prepared well in advance of the wedding, allowing plenty of time for negotiation, so that neither party feels under pressure
  • both parties have received independent legal advice on the contents
  • the terms are broadly speaking fair and within the range of orders which a court would be likely to make
  • both parties have made full and frank disclosure of their assets, income and liabilities and schedules setting out the disclosed information are attached to the Prenuptial Agreement
  • the Prenuptial Agreement includes provision for review

If you would like more information regarding Prenuptial Agreements to help you to decide whether one is right for you, please contact Head of Family Law,  Joanna Toloczko at Meaby&Co for timely advice jtoloczko@meaby.co.uk or call 020 7703 5034.

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