What is a pre-nuptial agreement?
People planning to enter a marriage or civil partnership often decide to enter into an agreement that shows what they intend to happen to their money and property if the marriage or civil partnership were to end.
Are pre-nups binding on the court?
Pre-nups are not strictly binding on the court in the event of a later divorce, but it is likely that a pre-nup will be respected by the court unless the effect of the agreement would be unfair. It is not possible in this country to have a fully binding agreement before marriage or civil partnership about what will happen on divorce or dissolution. In other countries, pre-nups are often binding.
In order to do the best job of ensuring that the court will not consider the agreement to be unfair if it is necessary to rely on it, both of you will need to set out your financial circumstances in full and take independent legal advice on the agreement and its effects.
It is good practice to get the agreement finalised in good time before the wedding or civil partnership ceremony so that neither or you feel undue pressure to agree to anything.
Agreements are generally less likely to be considered to be unfair if they are recent or if circumstances have not changed since and if both people knew exactly what they were getting into when the agreement was made, both legally and financially, without any undue pressure being applied.
It is possible that the court might uphold part of an agreement while considering a different part to have an unfair effect.
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What sorts of things does a pre-nup cover?
A pre-nup is a bespoke document drawn up for the two of you for your particular circumstances, so it can cover almost anything you want it to. There are certain things that couples usually think about when deciding how they would want to work things out if the marriage does not work:
- What would happen to property either of you brought into the marriage?
- What would happen to the family home?
- What would happen to any property given to you or inherited during the marriage or any income or assets derived from trusts?
- What would happen to money held in joint accounts and any property purchased jointly?
- What would happen to any saved money earned during the marriage?
- What would happen to your pensions?
- How would you deal with any debts?
- Would either of you pay or receive any maintenance and, if so, for how long?
- What kinds of events might require the agreement to be reviewed?
- What kinds of arrangements would you like to make for any children you have or are likely to have, both in financial and in practical terms?
What happens if we have children?
A pre-nup cannot prejudice the interests of any children in your family.
It is usual to build in provision for a review of the agreement if and when you have children, so that the children’s needs can be considered and assessed at that time, with possible changes made to any expectations of the adults.
In the event of a divorce, if the court is asked to intervene in financial arrangements its first consideration is always the children involved. If the court considers that any agreement of the adults may adversely affect their children, e.g. by restricting any expectations of a lifestyle they would otherwise have had, it is likely to consider that it is not fair to uphold the agreement in the circumstances. It is not possible to contract out of giving financial support to or for a child.
In 2010 the Supreme Court in 2010 gave the following guidance:
‘The court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement.’
We can offer Fixed Fees for drafting your Pre-Nuptials Agreement. For more information or to book a free initial discussion, please contact our family team today on 0207 993 8880 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Consulting an experienced legal practitioner while preparing pre-nuptial can be extremely beneficial.
It allows you to realise what you should include in an agreement, and how to ensure your agreement is legally binding. Generally, a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement serves the following purposes:
- Identifies and divides separate assets from marital or shared assets.
- Identifies and separates individual and combined debts.
- Dictates special terms and considerations if there are children from previous marriage.
Why Choose Us?
At Atlas Law Solicitors, our team uses their extensive knowledge of the law and their vast experience to curate the most suitable pre-nuptial.
- Offer our clients the best legal advice
- Help our clients prepare the necessary documentation
- Help our clients define individual assets
- Over 15 years’ experience
If you are planning to get married or move in with your partner, you should consider preparing a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement.
Contact Atlas Law Solicitors today to find out all your options and get a proper notarised pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement with the help of the finest solicitors in London on 020 7993 8880 or email us on email@example.com