Prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular as couples look to enter into marriage openly and with financial certainty for the future. Disclosing monetary issues before getting married and having the right agreement in place can help avoid disputes arising in the future and give both parties reassurance as to their position.
A prenuptial agreement sets out financial arrangements between a couple who will be marrying and gives details of what will happen in the event that they divorce.
At SMR Solicitors, we draft prenuptial agreements for clients in a range of circumstances to help them set out a plan of what will happen should they ever separate. Our family law team are friendly and approachable and will work with you to draw up an agreement that reflects your wishes for yourself and your future spouse.
A prenuptial agreement, also referred to as a prenup, can offer benefits to all couples. In particular, it is advisable to put this type of agreement in place if one couple has more assets than the other or has children from a previous relationship for whom they need to provide.
It is also useful where one party owns business interests or there is a possibility of an inheritance being received.
For a prenuptial agreement to stand the best chance of being followed, it is essential that it is drafted by an expert family solicitor and that both parties receive prenuptial agreements advice before signing.
Our family law team represent clients across West Sussex, advising a broad client base. We have particular expertise in advising clients with complex situations or high net worth.
At SMR Solicitors, we offer a free 20-minute consultation with one of our family law experts to discuss your situation.
Speak to our prenuptial agreements solicitors in West Sussex
To discuss your requirements and find out how we can help, please get in touch to speak to one of our expert prenuptial agreement lawyers.
Prenuptial agreements explained
Are prenuptial agreements legally binding?
While prenuptial agreements are not legally binding, the court is likely to follow their terms provided a number of conditions are met in the drawing up and signing of the agreement. These include:
- The agreement was drawn up by a qualified lawyer or solicitor;
- Both parties to the agreement received independent legal advice before signing;
- They entered into the agreement freely and voluntarily;
- They understood the implications of signing the agreement;
- The agreement does not negatively impact any children;
- Both parties’ financial needs are met and the agreement provides fairly for them both;
- The parties fully disclosed all assets and liabilities before the agreement was signed;
- The agreement was signed at least 28 days before the marriage.
What should be in a prenuptial agreement?
The parties can include any financial agreement they wish in the document except child custody issues, child maintenance, lifestyle issues and anything that is unfair or not permitted by law. Common clauses include the following:
- Division of money to include current accounts, savings accounts, joint accounts and investments;
- What will happen to a shared home and to any other properties the couple owns, either jointly or solely;
- How children will be provided for, other than basic maintenance payments;
- What will happen to valuable assets such as cars;
- Pension provisions;
- How debts will be dealt with, to include a debt incurred by one party only;
- What will happen to pets;
- How an inheritance will be dealt with, should one party receive money in this way.
Can you change a prenuptial agreement after you are married?
If both parties consent, a prenuptial agreement can be amended after marriage. The same process will need to be followed, with the amendments drawn up by a solicitor and independent legal advice given to both parties before signing.
For couples who are married and who have not made a prenuptial agreement, it is possible to enter into a postnuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements operate in the same way as agreements made before marriage and require the same level of advice.
Do I have to sign a prenuptial agreement?
If you do not wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement, you should not be pressured into it. It would be advisable for both you and your partner to try and understand each other’s point of view. Speaking to a legal adviser could help you see any benefits or drawbacks there may be so that you can make the right decision.
If you have been presented with a prenuptial agreement and you do not like the terms, you could consider asking a solicitor to negotiate it on your behalf if you would be prepared to agree to different terms. In any event, a prenuptial agreement can only be relied on to any extent if both parties entered into it freely.
Can you get a prenuptial agreement if you are not getting married?
If you do not intend marrying but you will be living with someone, you can put a co-habitation agreement in place. This is a similar agreement covering financial issues and what will happen if you separate.
Is it a good idea to use a prenuptial agreement template?
It is rarely a good idea to use legal templates as, while they attempt to cover every eventuality, they are unlikely to deal well with each individual situation.
In respect of prenuptial agreements, if you wish to rely on an agreement at a later date, you will need to be able to show that you both understood the contents and the implications of signing. If you have a bespoke agreement drafted, your solicitor will be able to confirm this, should the situation arise.
If you use a legal template, it will be easy for the court to disregard the document on the basis that it was not prepared by a qualified professional.