Prenup and Postnups
In the UK, a prenuptial agreement (more commonly known as a prenup) is a legal agreement which sets out how assets should be divided between a couple in the event of a divorce.
This legal contract sets out a couple’s rights regarding property, income, debt and other assets acquired individually or together. Couples may choose to do this for a number of reasons, such as having children from a previous marriage, inheritance of family properties or businesses, whatever the reason for choosing to have a prenup here at Castelo Solicitors we are able to offer support and legal advice throughout the process.
We understand that planning for the event of a divorce before marriage can be difficult but a prenuptial agreement is an important legal protection that can save you time, expense and stress in the future.
Are Prenuptial Agreements Legally Binding?
We commonly get asked ‘are prenuptial agreements legally binding in the UK?’ and the answer is not as straight forward as you would think. Officially a prenup is not automatically legally binding in UK law, however the agreement will be upheld by a court as long as it meets the below criteria, which are set by the Supreme Court and reviewed by the Law Commission:
- The agreement must be freely entered into.
- Both parties must understand the implications of the agreement.
- The agreement must be fair.
- The agreement must be contractually valid.
- The agreement must have been made at least 28 days before the wedding.
- There should be disclosure about the wider financial circumstances.
- Both parties must have received legal advice.
- It should not prejudice any children
- Both parties’ needs must be met
What is included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenups can cover all sorts of different issues, this can include, but is not limited to, the following:
Property: A prenuptial agreement should almost certainly cover the property each person has before the marriage; the agreement should also include what will happen to the family home in the event of divorce.
Money: Money, investments, and savings and other money kept in joint accounts should be accounted for in a prenuptial agreement. This topic should also include inheritances, as you can use a prenup to ring-fence assets one partner intends to pass on as inheritance and to protect the wealth that either spouse might gain in future as a beneficiary of an inheritance.
Debts: A prenup can be used to safeguard existing assets, but also to protect against debt liability should one spouse build up debts in the future. This can cover student debts, business debts, mortgages and more.
Children: Layout what rights children from a prior marriage have to any property or assets in the event the current marriage breaks down.
When should you get a Prenuptial Agreement?
We understand that a Prenuptial agreement might not be suitable for everyone but if you do wish to have one for whatever reason we recommend you arrange them well in advance of your marriage to ensure you have enough time to come to a well thought out agreement and also to ensure your paperwork is complete a minimum of 28 days before your marriage.
Our specialist family solicitors work closely with you to quickly and sensitively achieve the best result for you and your children whatever your situation.
Can you Make a Prenuptial Agreement Without a Lawyer?
To make a prenuptial agreement that is legally binding, both parties must have independent legal advice on the document. In short, it is not possible to make a Prenup without involving a solicitor.
Here at Castelo Solicitors we understand that a Prenup can be a difficult topic to discuss before marriage, which is why we can be on hand to guide you through the process and help ensure the final agreement suits both parties.
How long does a Prenuptial Agreement last?
Unless otherwise specified, a prenuptial agreement will typically last the lifespan of a couple’s marriage. In some cases couples may choose to build a “sunset clause” into the agreement that specifies an expiration date, but without a specific condition like this in place the agreement can be assumed to last indefinitely.
It is advisable to review and renew your prenuptial agreement to keep it up to date. A very old prenuptial agreement may not meet your current situation, for example, the birth of a child, change of career, illness, financial gains or hardships. The older and more unrelated to your current status the less likely the Postnup will be upheld by the Court. In this instant a Postnuptial Agreement can be made, a Postnup is essentially the same as a Prenup but the paperwork is done after marriage.