A prenuptial agreement (often known as a prenup agreement) is a formal pre-marital written agreement between two partners. The prenuptial agreement sets out ownership of all the belongings including money, assets and property and explains how these will be divided in the event of the breakdown of their marriage.

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Are prenuptial agreements legally binding in the UK?

Pre-Nuptial Agreements are not legally binding in the UK but are considered to be persuasive for the judge to exercise discretion in deciding the financial settlement by giving weight to the pre-nupital agreement.

Pre-Nups, Post Nups and Pre-civil registration agreements cannot exclude the authority of the Court when dealing with financial issues when a marriage or civil partnership irretrievably breaks down.

When divorce arises, the court has discretionary powers to distribute assets as the Judge sees is in the best interest of the parties/children/individual circumstances. The prenuptial agreement which has been entered into fairly and after taking appropriate legal advice may have persuasive authority for the judge to exercise discretion and give weight to the same in the distribution of assets.

Common reasons for getting a prenuptial agreement

If you are not interested in sharing your assets equally with your partner during the breakdown of marriage then it would be in your best interests to enter into a prenup or postnup agreement even if the agreement is not upheld by the Court.

Money can be an extremely emotive topic in a relationship, especially if you have different attitudes towards spending and saving. A prenuptial agreement provides a clear agreement that can lead to peace of mind for both parties.

The most common reasons for entering into a prenuptial agreement may include the following:

  • Assets: There are assets and/or property that would be hard to split 50/50;
  • Children: You, and/or your partner, have children from a previous relationship and want to ensure certain assets are reserved for them and protect their inheritance rights;  
  • Inherited money or assets: You want to protect inherited money or assets;
  • Savings or expected future inheritance: You want to safeguard substantial savings or expected future inheritance;
  • Fairness: You want financial issues to be resolved fairly in the event of a marriage breakdown, especially if you've suffered unfairness in divorce courts previously;
  • Business: Either party own a business which they'd like to retain control of in the event of the marriage breaking down;
  • Debt: If your partner has outstanding debt, a prenuptial agreement with a 'debt clause' can protect you from being liable for that debt.

How we can help with a prenuptial agreement?

Our team of family law solicitors will prepare a prenuptial agreement:

  • tailored to you and your partner's personal circumstances;
  • containing an inventory of each partner's assets;
  • giving details of how the assets will be distributed in the event of a breakdown of marriage;
  • (if required) giving details of any post-divorce financial arrangements for children, particularly where one or both partners have children from previous relationships;
  • giving independent legal advice.

Need legal advice & assistance?

Family legal issues can arise from disagreements on child arrangements, relationship breakdown, domestic violence and many other areas that can be legally complicated. Our family lawyers help to demystify the legalities of the family law system.

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Contact our family law solicitors today for a free initial consultation and assessment.

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