Prenuptial agreements explained

In the UK, we spend around £10 billion a year on weddings, but just because you’re married doesn’t mean you aren’t your own person with your own property and income. Should your marriage come to an end, you can save yourself a large headache by having a prenuptial agreement in place to help separate your estate from your partner’s.

Following precedent set following a 2010 case, prenups (prenuptial agreements) now have a heavy evidential weight in the UK family court. However, while our courts recognise prenuptial agreements, they also still have the discretion to waive any agreement, especially if it’s deemed to be unfair to any children of the marriage.

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that is entered into before marriage. Prenuptial agreements can help decide what will happen to your and your spouse’s assets and income in the unfortunate event of divorce, separation or death. A prenuptial agreement can also preserve the nature of property in the event that the marriage ends, despite the reason.

In other words, separate property can remain separate. Prenuptial agreements have become very popular over the years – for a variety of reasons. Many people today are focusing on their careers and delaying marriage, which means by the time they do find another person to marry, they both have estate to protect. Prenuptial agreements are also common when one partner has children from a former marriage.

The biggest problem that comes with most divorces is deciding how to divide up property and shared finances. A large number of prenuptial agreements are entered into simply because couples do not want the courts to decide on the distribution of their assets should the marriage end.

Why get a prenuptial agreement?

Money can be an extremely difficult topic in any relationship, especially if you both have different attitudes towards spending and saving your finances. A prenuptial agreement provides a clear agreement that can lead to peace of mind for both parties in the event that your marriage ends.

There are several clear reasons why a prenuptial agreement may be a good idea for you and your partner to consider:

  • You have assets and/or property that would be hard to split between you both.
  • One or both of you have children from a previous relationship/marriage and want to ensure certain assets are reserved for them and protect their inheritance rights.
  • You want to protect inherited money or assets – either that you’ve inherited, or that you’ll be passing on.
  • You want to safeguard any of your substantial savings or expected future inheritance.
  • You want a say in how financial issues will be resolved in the event of the end of your marriage; especially if you’ve experienced difficulty in a previous marriage or partnership.
  • Either you or your partner own a business which they’d like to retain individual control of.
  • Your partner has outstanding debt, which you’d like to avoid being responsible for.

A prenuptial agreement means financial protection for you and your partner in the case of any misfortunate events.