Five FAQs on pre-nuptial agreements


What is a pre-nuptial agreement?

A pre-nuptial agreement is a document that is drafted and signed before a marriage or civil partnership takes place to formally outline how the assets of the parties will be treated in the event of the marriage or partnership breaking down. Because pre-nuptial agreements are complex legal documents, you should have yours drawn up by a family law solicitor.

Are pre-nuptial agreements legally binding?

At the moment pre-nuptial agreements are not formally recognised by English courts. There is currently no legal basis for these agreements to be upheld when a marriage or civil partnership ends. However, the court can find them persuasive and that is why it is important that they protect your interests. You should consult with a family law solicitor about how likely it would be for the court to support any claim made under your agreement.

Will the courts ever recognise pre-nuptial agreements?

Because pre-nuptial agreements are increasingly being used, the Law Commission is assessing how the courts could support these agreements. The Commission recognises that using pre-nuptial agreements could vastly improve the efficiency of the divorce courts when divorce petitions are contested. Your family law solicitor can keep you up-to-date with the Commission’s progress.

How could pre-nuptial agreements make my divorce more efficient?

Divorces that are contested can often take a great deal of time and money to resolve. A pre-nuptial agreement could give the court evidence to use in order to resolve issues more quickly. As the divorcing couple would have signed the pre-nuptial agreement, the court could compel them to comply with its terms. You should still have full legal representation from a divorce solicitor to ensure your rights are protected.

What services can a solicitor provide with pre-nuptial agreements?

A pre-nuptial agreement may not be at the moment a completely legally binding document, but a solicitor should nonetheless draw it up. The family lawyer you use can ensure that all parties agree its terms. In the event of a divorce you would have a document to refer back to if any of the agreements are contested.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on pre-nuptial agreements, Contact Law can put you in touch with a local family solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local family solicitors please call us at 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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