Does a Prenup have to Be Signed before the Wedding?

15 November 2019

A Prenuptial Agreement needs to be signed at least 21 days before the wedding takes place. This will have a significant bearing on whether a Court decides to uphold the Prenuptial Agreement in the event that you and your partner get a divorce.

When to Make a Prenuptial Agreement

A Prenuptial Agreement (or Prenup) is an official document that sets out what should happen to a couple's assets and commitments in the event of separation. It can set out what should happen with individual and joint assets, such as the family home, savings or inheritance. The purpose of this is to ensure that, if the relationship breaks down in the future, each person knows exactly where they stand and there's less risk of a nasty dispute.

As the name implies, a Prenuptial Agreement needs to be made before the couple gets married. If a Prenup is called upon in the future, it's at the discretion of the Court as to whether or not the terms of this agreement should be upheld. They will take a number of factors into account, including when the Prenup was made, whether it was drafted by a qualified Solicitor and whether both people sought independent legal advice before entering into the agreement.

One factor that is likely to have a significant bearing on whether the Prenup is upheld is whether it was signed more than 21 days before the wedding. Prenups can take time to draft, particularly if there are any points that the couple don't initially agree on. For this reason, it's important to allow plenty of time for the Prenup to be drafted, agreed upon and signed well before the wedding takes place.

How to Make a Prenuptial Agreement

The first stage to making a Prenuptial Agreement, is for you and your fiancé(e) to each make a list of your financial assets, as these will need to be fully disclosed. Once you have done this, you should have a discussion to agree what should happen to your joint and individual assets if you separate in the future. If any assets are to be divided, then you should agree in what proportions.

If there are any points that you disagree on, then these will need to be agreed before your Prenup can be drafted. Once you are both happy with everything, you should each obtain independent legal advice from a different Family Law Solicitor. Your Solicitor will review the proposed terms and ensure that you fully understand what the Prenup says and its implications. They will also ensure that you have not been unduly influenced by anyone else.

Each Solicitor should also check that the terms of the agreement are fair. A Court is highly unlikely to uphold a Prenuptial Agreement in the future if it is deemed to be unfair to either person.

Once everything has been confirmed, one of the Solicitors will then draft the Prenuptial Agreement, ready to be signed by both you and your fiancé(e). Once the document has been signed, the Prenup will have been finalised and it will officially be in place, ready to be called upon if it's ever needed in the future.

Once you're married, you can choose to alter the terms of the agreement if you want to. This could be the case if your circumstances change in the future, for example, and you can do this by putting a Postnuptial Agreement in place.

At Co-op Legal Services, we offer fixed fee pricing on Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements.

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