It is increasingly normal for couples to make a pre-nuptial agreement before getting married or entering a civil partnership. While it might not seem like the most romantic thing to do, it can actually make your relationship stronger by giving each of you peace of mind for the future.
Pre-nuptial agreements (or ‘pre-nups’) are voluntary written agreements signed by a couple prior to marriage (or Civil Partnership) enabling them to decide what should happen to their assets/property in the event of a Divorce.
Such agreements are particularly relevant to older couples marrying or a second marriage where each party may already have assets or savings they wish to protect for themselves, their children or their business. They are also needed where one of the couple has significant assets compared to the other.
If you are already married, you can make an equivalent agreement known as a post-nuptial agreement or ‘post-nup’.
Pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding and cannot override the jurisdiction of the Divorce Courts but recent cases show that the Courts will take them into account in divorce proceedings and if they satisfy the test of fairness they are likely to be upheld.
To make sure a pre-nuptial agreement is fair and matches your long-term interests, you need specialist legal advice. The Family Law team at mfg solicitors is highly experienced in negotiating and reviewing pre-nups for a wide range of circumstances, so can provide the clear, pragmatic advice you require.
Looking for swift advice on a pre-nuptial agreement or a more general chat about whether this is the right option for you? Please get in touch.
Why choose mfg solicitors when making a pre-nuptial agreement?
Independent recognition as leading family lawyers
Our market leading expertise in family law has been independently recognised with Band 1 ranking by Chambers & Partners and Tier 2 ranking by the Legal 500. Our team is also accredited for Family Law by the Law Society for the high quality of our expertise.
Expertise with medium & high net worth clients
Our regular clients include medium to high net worth individuals, including professionals such as dentists and doctors, as well as farmers and landowners. We have strong expertise in pre-nups covering family businesses and partnerships.
Dedicated personal support every step of the way
A dedicated specialist solicitor will act for you through every stage of reaching a pre-nuptial agreement. Providing a single, consistent point of contact, they will get to know you and your requirements, so you get the high quality, personal service you deserve.
Speak to our family lawyers about a pre-nup now
Or you can use our simple contact form to ask a question.
How pre-nuptial agreements work
Requirements for a valid pre-nup
For a pre-nuptial agreement to have any legal standing, the following requirement must be met:
- The agreement is fair to both parties
- Neither party was under pressure to sign
- The agreement was made at least 28 days before marriage
- Each party fully understood the implications of the agreement before signing
- Each party made a full and frank financial disclosure of all assets to the other party
- Each party received independent legal advice before signing the agreement
Keeping your pre-nup up-to-date
A pre-nuptial agreement may be considered no longer valid if your circumstances change after signing, meaning the agreement is no longer fair.
Events such as the birth of a child, ill health or either party acquiring substantial new assets may make an agreement unfair later. It is vital therefore, that all aspects of a pre-nuptial (or indeed a post-nuptial) agreement are properly and fairly considered from the outset with the benefit of sound legal advice.
If your circumstances change after you make a pre-nup, you may need to replace the agreement with a post-nuptial agreement to reflect your new situation.
How pre-nuptial agreements apply during divorce
On divorce the starting point is that all assets are divided equally between the parties. However, if assets belonging to one party are ring-fenced before marriage by a pre-nuptial agreement it could protect all of that client’s pre-marriage assets.
Pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding, so in theory a judge can decide to ignore the agreement if you take your divorce to court. However, if the agreement was created properly and your circumstances have not changed from those covered by the agreement, it is likely that a judge will be guided by the pre-nup in any decision they make.
Having a pre-nup or post-nup can make it much less likely that your divorce will end up in court as you will have already agreed how your assets are to be divided, side-stepping a lot of potential for conflict.
Our pre-nuptial agreement fees
It is important to know how much making a pre-nup will cost you and that those costs will be proportionate to your requirements. We will explain the available fee structures at the outset, with all costs clearly explained, so you can choose the right option for you.
Fixed fee pre-nuptial agreements
We can often prepare straightforward pre-nups for a fixed price, giving you complete certainty over the costs involved.
Where there are more complex issues to consider, we will generally work to an agreed hourly rate. This allows us to give you exactly the level of support you need while making sure our fees are completely clear upfront.
Speak to our pre-nup solicitors today
For practical, personal guidance on making a pre-nuptial agreement that works for you, please get in touch now to arrange an initial appointment with our friendly, expert family lawyers.
You can also use our simple contact form to ask a question and we will get back to you shortly.
Please note we do not offer a free consultation process on Family matters.