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What is a pre-nuptial agreement and do I need one?

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A pre-nuptial agreement or a ‘prenup’ is a formal, written agreement that details how assets such as property and pensions will be divided in the event of divorce. With the number of couples marrying later in life increasing, it is common for both parties to have significant assets that they will want to protect in the unfortunate event that they separate from their spouse.

Prenups aren’t suitable for everyone, but there are a number of circumstances where it would be advisable to have plans in place if your relationship does come to an end.

What reasons are there for getting a prenup?

While it may seem counterproductive to be planning for the end of your marriage, it pays to have plans in place which ensure both you and your partner are treated fairly if you decide to go your separate ways.

There are a number of circumstances where drafting a prenup would be advisable, including if:

  • You or your partner has significantly more valuable assets than the other
  • You or your partner earns significantly more than the other
  • You or your partner are sole owners of a business
  • You or your partner are in debt
  • There are children from another marriage
  • There are pets involved in the marriage

These types of conversations are very sensitive in nature, so it is best to plan a prenup well in advance of your wedding date so that there is no pressure on either party to come to an agreement that may not suit their best interests.

Our expert team of family law solicitors can help you negotiate a suitable agreement with your partner, navigating the more complex and technical aspects of your finances with ease.

Are prenups legally binding?

Prenups are not automatically legally binding, but they do carry  some weight if court proceedings are required to solve any disputes that may occur during your separation. However, to be taken into consideration during divorce proceedings, your agreement should meet certain legal requirements.

These requirements are:

  • Both parties must have received independent legal advice
  • The agreement was freely entered into by both parties with full appreciation of its implications
  • It must be fair to hold the parties to the agreement
  • The agreement cannot prejudice the reasonable requirements of any children of the family

A member of our family law team will be able to draw up an agreement which not only protects your interests but also stands the best possible chance of being upheld in court.

Can an agreement be drawn up after marriage?

You will still be able to enter into an agreement to protect your assets if you did not draw up a prenup agreement prior to your marriage.

A post-nuptial agreement, or postnup, works in much the same way as a prenup, but it is drawn up after you are married. As is the case with a prenup, postnups are not legally binding, but they do carry  some weight in court so long as specific requirements are met.

There are no restrictions as to when you will be able to enter into such an agreement, but if you and your partner believe that it would be beneficial then you should consult an expert as soon as possible.

Get in touch with our expert family law solicitors today

At Bird & Co, our experienced team of family law solicitors can provide expert advice for all aspects of pre-nuptial agreements. We can guide you through the legal complexities involved in drafting up an agreement and ensure that your best interests are protected at all times.

For clear, sensible advice, please give us a call, fill in our online enquiry form, or visit one of our offices in Grantham, Newark or Lincoln.