If you are planning your marriage or civil partnership, then thinking about its potential breakdown will be the last thing on your mind. While this is not always an easy conversation to have with your partner, making provision now through a prenuptial agreement (also known as prenup) can save additional stress and heartache later on. Similar to insurance, we hope that you will never have to use it, but it can help provide peace of mind and safeguard the future.Watch our Family Law FAQs playlist on YouTube
A prenuptial agreement is a written agreement you make before entering into your marriage or civil partnership. The agreement sets out what should happen to the division of your and your partner’s assets should your relationship breakdown. If you are entering into a cohabiting relationship we would recommend making a cohabitation agreement.
The agreement must be entered into at least 28 days before the marriage or civil partnership is made. A prenuptial agreement is not automatically legally binding however has been shown to carry significant weight when being considered by the Court in financial remedy proceedings. For the court to give weight to a prenup you should both enter into it freely, there should be full and frank financial disclosure and you should each receive independent legal advice.
If you are too late to make a valid prenup, there are alternatives such as a post-nuptial agreement which we are more than happy to discuss with you.
The birth of a child is one key event that could cause the agreement not be upheld by the court and is a reason to review the agreement and consider whether it should be changed. A properly executed agreement should have provisions for review at regular intervals and on certain events so that changes can be made for things like changes in assets, housing needs, length of the marriage or birth of children. A prenup can also include assets that you accumulate once you are married provided proper provision is made.
Our family team draft prenups on a bespoke basis so that it is tailored to your circumstances. Considerations include if you have children from previous marriages or civil partnerships, the amount and nature of your assets and if you have any international aspects. Drawing up a prenup can cost significantly less than appointing a lawyer to deal with financial arrangements after a relationship breakdown so it is a worthwhile investment.
All of our family team are members of Resolution which is a national organisation of family lawyers committed to dealing with family problems in an amicable manner in accordance with a code of conduct.Free 30 minute initial consultation
If either of you has made a will, it will become void when you marry or form a civil partnership, unless it has specifically been made in anticipation of the marriage or registration of the civil partnership. Please visit our Inheritance Protection team pages for further information regarding updating your Will.
For more information on how we can help support you through your prenup, please contact one of our family specialists in our Newbury, Thatcham or Maidenhead offices below.