What are pre-nuptial agreements?

 

A prenuptial agreement, also known as an ante-nuptial or pre-marital agreement, is most commonly referred to as a pre-nup. In law, a prenuptial agreement is effectively a contract entered into between a couple prior to their marriage.

If you're thinking of getting one, we can help you.

So how do they work in practice?

Prenuptial agreements are agreements between two people, before marriage, on what will happen to their affairs if they divorce. Similar agreements may also be entered between civil partners (or those contemplating civil partnership).

The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary depending on the financial and other circumstances of the couple. Prenuptial agreements are generally used in order to predetermine how property and assets will be divided by couples in the event of a divorce.

These types of agreements are commonly used by celebrities or other high net-worth individuals in order to protect their assets and wealth. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to ensure that such high net-worth people are not stripped of their assets in divorce proceedings.

Prenuptial agreements, if used, should be made in accordance with a number of rules commonly considered important if your agreement is to be enforced by the courts. The guidelines state that:

  • Provision should be made for children
  • Both parties should have taken independent legal advice
  • The agreement cannot be profoundly unjust
  • Full financial disclosure must have been made showing the assets of both parties
  • The agreement must have been drawn up at least 21 days prior to the marriage

Failure to adhere to these principles may render the agreement unusable by the court.

Is a prenuptial agreement legally binding?

Whilst in theory a prenuptial agreement works, in practice they are very difficult to enforce in a UK court of law. As of 2007, in England and Wales, prenuptial agreements are generally unenforceable; however, they may be upheld by a judge at their discretion. 

A recent case from the Court of Appeal (Radmacher v Granatino) considered the contents of the prenuptial agreement entered into by the parties and made their decision accordingly. This is likely to result in legislation allowing the enforcement of a properly drafted prenuptial agreement.

The most important thing to remember is a well-drafted prenuptial agreement is more likely to be upheld in a court, whilst a DIY prenuptial agreement is likely to hold no legal standing.

Given the problems surrounding enforceability of a prenuptial agreement, you may wish to discuss alternatives with a solicitor. For example, setting up a trust to put assets in is a possible alternative. A trust is where one party transfers their assets to another individual to hold on trust for the benefit of someone else.

It is always best to seek professional advice to ensure you protect your interests as thoroughly as you can, particularly if you have assets of high value.

For more of your questions answered, see our FAQ page on prenuptial agreements.

Are you thinking about drafting a prenuptial agreement, or looking at alternative methods of protection for your assets before marriage? Contact Law works with specialist family law solicitors who can assist you in planning for your future and protecting your interests. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

Call
0800 1777 162
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
Name:
Town/City:
Email:
Phone:
What our clients say about us
"This was the first time I've been to court, which was a nerve-racking experience for me. However, I felt very prepared, I understood my case and representation - this was down to you."
Gavin, criminal motoring, Oct 15
"Your service, and the prompt call back from your recommended firm was very good. I would not hesitate to call again or recommend your service."
Ian, employment law, Truro, July 15
"The firm were excellent, could not have been better! They are exactly what I need right now."
Linda, criminal defence, Thames Ditton, Jul 15
"Your contact and service was immediate and utmost professional, 10/10."
TF, conveyancing, Dudley, Jun 15
"I appreciate the service that you provide. I found you to be courteous, efficient and reassuring at a time when my confidence in justice is completely negative."
Patrick, litigation, Pontypridd, Jun 15
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the speed of which you came back to me in. If anyone else can benefit from your help like I have done, it would make my day."
Gail M, family law, Potters Bar, Jun 15
"Your assistance was extremely helpful. Particularly to someone who in 40 years of business has never experienced this sort of issue."
TD, commercial litigation, Galashiels, Apr 15
"It is difficult to express the value Contact Law has to someone like me who had very little understanding of the law and how to proceed forward with my case. Thank you for the service you provided."
AE, defamation law, Worthing, Apr 15
"Thank you for the efficient service I received. I was contacted by your solicitor on the same day as my request. Your quick response to my situation made me feel secure."
AN, employment law, London, Apr 15
"Your service was excellent, very fast and informative. I never got the impression of being pressurised at all. The solicitor you recommended was also excellent – very knowledgeable and supportive."
JHD, Motoring law, Liverpool, Apr 15
Brands we work with

Brands we work with

More information:

Contact Law supports the endeavours of STAE and commends all the work they are undertaking to assist in the plight of the Asian Elephant

 

We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.