A prenuptial agreement, often referred to as a prenup, is a document signed by two individuals before they marry. It sets out what will happen in respect of finances and property in the event that the marriage breaks down.
Putting a prenuptial agreement in place is not just for those with substantial assets. It is a way for a couple to enter into a new phase of their lives on an open and honest basis. By having conversations about money early on, both parties can come to an agreement over what they consider to be fair. This can help a relationship by avoiding the risk of misunderstanding or disputes in the future.
It is important for a prenuptial agreement to be drafted by expert prenuptial agreement solicitors. Should the agreement ever be put before the court, the judge will need to be sure that both parties have received proper legal advice before signing.
At Huggins Lewis Foskett in South Woodford, our family law experts can advise you on what to include in a prenuptial agreement and draft a robust document that will hold up to scrutiny.
If you would like to talk to our London prenuptial agreement solicitors, ring us on 0208 989 3000 or using our simple contact form to request a call back, and we will be happy to answer your questions.
Why choose Huggins Lewis Foskett for your prenuptial agreement?
Our family law team have extensive experience in the sector and are friendly and approachable.
As well as genuine legal expertise, we provide outstanding service, giving you the guidance and support you need. We offer fixed fees wherever possible so that you can be sure of the costs involved.
Our prenuptial agreements service
Making a prenuptial agreement
A prenuptial agreement can address any financial issues you wish, but generally covers matters such as what will happen to assets owned before your marriage, what will happen to property and how assets and debts will be divided should you separate. Issues such as provision for children can also be included.
We can draw up a prenuptial agreement and negotiate where necessary to ensure the terms are acceptable to both parties.
Advice on a prenuptial agreement you have been asked to sign
It is essential that you obtain independent legal advice before signing a prenuptial agreement. Even if you are happy with its contents, if you do not take expert prenuptial agreements advice, then a court may not follow the terms of the agreement, should you ever need to rely on it.
We can advise you in respect of a prenuptial agreement if you have been asked to sign one, to ensure that you understand the implications of signing and that your rights and interests are safeguarded.
If you are already married, but would like to put an agreement in place, you can enter into a postnuptial agreement. This is dealt with in a similar way, with both parties agreeing on the terms and signing after taking independent legal advice. It can be reassuring to have a postnuptial agreement in place if, for example, one party has given up their career to raise children or has inherited some money from their family.
We can discuss your needs and work with you to draw up a postnuptial agreement that sets out your wishes in respect of your assets and liabilities in the event that you separate.
The application of prenups and postnups during divorce
If you should divorce after putting a prenup or postnup in place, the court will look at the way in which the agreement was made in deciding whether to follow its terms.
The needs of any children of the relationship will always be a priority, and the court will also try to ensure that the needs of both parties are met and that the division of assets is fair.
It may be possible to challenge the contents of a prenuptial agreement, but it would be necessary to show a good reason why it should not be followed, such as failure to disclose all assets, coercion in respect of signing or failure to properly understand the document.
Everything you need to know about prenuptial agreements
Are prenuptial agreements legally binding?
Prenuptial agreements are not legally binding in the UK; however, a court will generally follow their terms unless there is a good reason not to. In deciding whether to follow a prenup, the court will look for the following:
- The agreement has been drawn up by a qualified lawyer;
- Both parties took independent legal advice before signing;
- Their solicitors can confirm that both parties understood the implications of signing and did so voluntarily;
- The agreement does not negatively impact any children;
- Both parties are provided for fairly, and their financial needs are met;
- Both parties disclosed all of their assets before the agreement was made and signed;
- The agreement was signed at least 28 days before the marriage.
What should you include in a prenup?
It is open to you to include what you want in a prenup. Matters that are often included are:
- What will happen to a shared home;
- What will happen to other property, including property owned by one party before the marriage;
- How assets will be divided, to include savings and investments;
- How debts will be dealt with, to include debts incurred by one party alone;
- How children will be provided for, to include children from a previous relationship;
- How an inheritance will be dealt with if one is received.
Do I have to sign a prenup?
You do not have to sign a prenup if you do not want to, and no one should pressure you to do so. If you do not have a prenup in place and you end up divorcing, then the court will aim to make a fair division of assets. This might not be an equal division of assets. The court will always prioritise children, and the person taking on the bulk of the childcare may end up with the family home, at least in the short term, and sufficient assets to provide for the children.
If you are likely to be in a weaker place financially, for example, if you give up your career to raise a family, you might not want to sign a prenup which would exclude you from a share of your partner’s assets. It is important to take legal advice from an expert who will be able to advise you of your best option.
Can you change a prenuptial agreement after you are married?
It is open to you and your spouse to change a prenuptial agreement after you are married if you are both agreed upon the changes. The same process of obtaining independent legal advice will need to be followed, and a postnuptial agreement put in place.
Can you get a prenuptial agreement if you aren’t getting married?
If you do not intend to get married, then you will have fewer rights, and it is advisable to think about what you want to happen, should you separate. You have the option to put a cohabitation agreement in place, which will set out details of similar issues such as what will happen to a shared home and how assets will be divided should you separate.
Are DIY prenuptial agreements a good idea?
It is never advisable to draft and sign your own prenuptial agreement. If it is to have a good chance of being followed by the court, then it must be drawn up by a qualified lawyer, and you must have independent legal advice before signing.
While a DIY prenup may seem to be a quick and cheap option, in the long run, it could result in a lengthy and expensive divorce as all the issues are left open to dispute. The cost of obtaining a robust prenuptial agreement is minimal in comparison.
Our prenuptial agreement fees
Fixed fee prenuptial agreements
We are generally able to draw up a - prenuptial agreement on a fixed fee basis so that you will know in advance exactly how much it will cost.
Hourly rates for prenuptial legal advice
For more complex matters, including negotiating the terms of a particularly detailed prenuptial agreement, we will charge according to our set hourly rates. These will depend on the complexity of your case and the level of legal expertise needed.
For an indication of our costs, please - contact us and we can book you in for a free, up to 30 minutes, consultation.
Our family law team
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