Prenuptial Agreements - protecting your assets in divorce

Are you worried about protecting your assets in divorce?Are you thinking of a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements in the UK are often associated with the rich and famous, but increasingly more people are choosing to have them prepared before they get married. The aim of a UK prenuptial agreement [also referred to as a prenup or premarital contract] is to clearly set out before marriage how your joint assets would be divided up between you in the event of your relationship breaking down. If you are planning to get married and are thinking of getting a prenuptial agreement, or if you are getting divorced and you already have one, there are a few issues you need to be aware of.

UK Prenuptial Agreements are not yet enforceable

Currently prenuptial agreement are simply not enforceable in the courts in England and Wales. This is in sharp contrast to the position in many other countries -where prenuptial agreements are already enforceable.

In the UK , the courts still retain the power to decide how family assets should be divided in divorce – so your prenuptial agreement might be completely ignored. UK courts consider a range of issues when deciding how to divide the assets, including:

• Your respective financial status

• Living standards

• Ability to earn in the future

• Pension provision

• The presence of children under the age of 18

• Non-monetary contributions to the family

Your UK Prenuptial Agreement may be taken into account

Despite the fact that prenuptial agreements are not automatically enforceable UK courts, judges are increasingly paying attention to them and considering prenuptial agreements as a relevant factor in dividing up family cash.

Ideally, prenuptial agreements should be signed at least 21 days before the wedding, or else there might be a suspicion that one party has been forced to capitulate to demands at the last minute and the judge may be more reluctant to take it into account.

How to prepare for your prenuptial agreement

To give your prenuptial agreement the best chance of being considered or enforced by any UK court, you should pay careful attention to ensuring that the following take place in advance of the agreement being signed;

• there is clear evidence that both parties fully understood the agreement

• both parties received independent legal advice on the agreement

• there was there full and frank financial disclosure by both parties of all their financial assets prior to signature

• no pressure was placed on either party to sign the prenuptial agreement

What should I include in my prenuptial agreement?

If you are planning to get a prenuptial agreement you might want to consider the following factors prior to drawing up an agreement:

• Arrangements for any property you might buy after your marriage, including how you will each be expected to contribute to it.

• Arrangements for property you owned prior to the marriage.

• Arrangements for what happens to your property if one spouse dies prior to divorce.

• Arrangements to protect the interests of any existing or future born children – although you should be aware that UK courts have an obligation to make the interests of the children “paramount” regardless of any arrangements for them [or, indeed, a lack of provision for those children] in your prenuptial agreement

Our solicitors readily prepare and review prenuptial agreements. For specialist advice to rely on, contact our team for free initial phone advice. FREEPHONE 0800 1404544.

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