A pre-nuptial agreement, commonly called a "pre-nup", is an agreement made between two people prior to their marriage or civil partnership. It sets out the parties’ assets at the time of the agreement and how those should be divided on the breakdown of the relationship.
More and more couples these days are entering into these arrangements; it is a sensible precaution and may well cut down on uncertainty and animosity at a difficult time.
Is a pre-nup legally binding?
No. Although legally binding in other countries a pre-nup agreement is not legally binding in the UK. If the court is involved in resolving a couples finances following the breakdown of the relationship and where there is a pre-nup, the court will have regard to it and may uphold the terms provided certain criteria were fulfilled:-
- Each party should take independent legal advice
- Both parties should give to the other full and frank disclosure of their financial positions
- The agreement should be entered into freely by both parties without any undue pressure or influence.
- The court is more likely to uphold the agreement if the terms are realistic and fair
It is important to review a pre-nup to keep it effective. Events such as the birth of a child, one party becoming ill or giving up a career to care for children would be triggers to take a look and consider whether your pre-nup needs revising to reflect your wishes and new circumstances. The new agreement would be called a Post-Nuptial Agreement. The court is more likely to take account of an agreement that is relevant to the circumstances at the time of the relationship breakdown.
If you think you might need a pre-nuptial agreement or would like to discuss the matter with us, our family law team can be contacted by phone on 01942 246241. At your first appointment with us, we will explain any areas of concern. Our charges are competitive and we will be able to provide an indication of the likely cost of preparing an agreement for you at our initial meeting.