If you’re thinking about getting a Prenup (Prenuptial Agreement), there are a few things that you should know first. To make things easier for you, we've outlined the 5 most important things to know before getting a Prenuptial Agreement.
1. A Prenup deals with the division of your assets
A Prenup lets you and your spouse set out how you will split your assets if you break up in the future. You decide how to divide your assets before getting married.
For this reason, some people think that a Prenup is unromantic and that it's strange to think about splitting up before you've even said "I do". But really it's just about providing clarity, so if things to do go wrong in the future, you both know who owns what.
2. A Prenup can include any assets you want
No two Prenups are the same. Your Prenup can include any assets you want to, such as property, business assets, inheritance, savings and even what happens to your pets.
Most Prenups deal with assets that have been acquired before the relationship. However, you can also look ahead to assets that may be acquired during the marriage. For example, you might be expecting an inheritance in the future, and you want to ensure it's protected from the marriage pot when you do receive it.
3. Prenups aren’t legally binding in England & Wales, but...
Prenups aren’t legally binding, but they are certainly taken into consideration by Family Courts in England and Wales.
In 2010 there was a landmark ruling in the case of Radmacher v Granatino where the Judge enforced a Prenuptial Agreement that the couple had entered into 12 years earlier. Since then Prenups have carried more authority in the Family Courts. So if a future divorce settlement is disputed and you’ve got a Prenup in place, the above case sets a precedence for a Judge to uphold the terms of your Prenup; providing it is properly drafted by a Family Law Solicitor.
4. A Prenup will only be enforced if certain criteria is met
A Judge will only enforce a Prenup if he/she is satisfied that:
- both parties took independent legal advice before signing the Prenup
- the agreement is fair and reasonable
- the agreement meets the needs of any children who were alive when the Prenup was signed, or who have been born since
If a Judge does not believe that all of the above criteria have been satisfied, the Prenup will not be upheld.
5. A Prenup can help to avoid a potential 50/50 split of your assets
If you don't have a Prenup and you go on to get divorced, you'll then need to work out how to split your assets at a time when emotions are already running high. If you and your spouse can't reach an agreement, the dispute will end up in Court where a Judge will decide for you. The decision will be taken out of your hands, and could potentially result in your assets being split evenly between you – including those assets that you have brought to the marriage.
Going to Court will be expensive. Getting a Prenup written by a Family Law Solicitor is a small price to pay for protecting your pre-marital assets as much as the law allows. For more information see Prenuptial Agreements.