What is a prenuptial agreement?

Couples planning to marry or enter a civil partnership may want an agreement that sets out what they intend to happen to their money and property if the marriage or civil partnership were to end. 

In England and Wales, prenuptial agreements are not strictly binding in the event of a divorce, but the terms of the agreement may be decisive in the event of a dispute that is dealt with by the court unless the effect of the agreement would be unfair.

Why enter into a prenuptial agreement?

There are several reasons to enter into a prenuptial agreement, even if you do not have significant pre-marital assets to protect.

A prenuptial agreement should be considered if there are certain assets that you would like to ring-fence prior to getting married or entering a civil partnership.

You may want to enter into a prenuptial agreement for the following reasons: 

  • To protect assets for children from a previous marriage. 
  • To protect assets that you owned prior to the marriage. 
  • To safeguard expected future inheritance. 
  • To define what is to be considered ‘matrimonial’ or ‘non-matrimonial’ property, for example, in relation to business assets owned prior to the marriage. 
  • You have a connection with or property in another jurisdiction.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Legally Enforceable

What should a prenuptial agreement include?

A prenuptial agreement is a bespoke document and is tailored to your circumstances. A well-drafted prenuptial agreement will help to provide clarity so that you and your partner make it clear to one another that certain property belongs to you alone and that it will not be shared on any future divorce. 

There are certain things that couples usually include within a prenuptial agreement, including but not limited to: 

  • What will happen to property that either party brought into the marriage?
  • What will happen to the family home?
  • What will happen to any property given to either party or inherited during the marriage?
  • What will happen to any personal belongings or possessions owned before the marriage?
  • What will happen to any pensions?
  • How you will deal with any debts.

A prenuptial agreement can give more certainty as to the financial arrangements if you separate. Both parties will need independent legal advice on the agreement, and they will need to disclose information about their assets, liabilities, and income to one another. 

It is good practice to finalise the agreement in good time before the wedding or civil partnership ceremony so that both parties have sufficient time to consider the terms of the agreement.  

Here to help

If you are planning to marry or enter a civil partnership and you want to ensure that certain assets are protected from claims for financial provision on divorce or dissolution, you can contact our specialist Family Solicitors below. 

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