UK Prenuptial Agreement Overview

Unlike the USA prenuptial agreements (prenups) are not currently legally binding in England. However, a Judge is likely to take a prenuptial agreement into account when overseeing a case and is likely to uphold it, as long as certain safeguards have been met, as was seen in the case of Radmacher v Granatino decided by the Court of Appeal.


For a prenuptial agreement to be upheld in the UK, the following safeguards must be met:
•    Both parties must have received independent legal advice from a family law solicitor about the agreement at the outset.
•    Both parties signed the agreement freely with no pressure exerted to sign against their will.
•    Full financial disclosure of both parties’ assets was made before the agreement was signed.
•    The agreement should be at least 4 weeks before the marriage.
•    Significant changes, for example the birth of children, may mean the agreement is not upheld.
•    The agreement has to be fair and realistic. If the division of assets is weighted too heavily in the favour of one party, it may be judged to be unfair by the courts.

 

Benefits of getting a Prenup?

A correctly set up prenuptial agreement can help to reduce conflict by providing clarity, managing expectations, and providing a degree of certainty during the divorce. They can also safeguard financial stability by protecting pre-marriage assets, inheritance, and existing family commitments such as children from a previous marriage.
They are also beneficial if either party’s family have an asset such as a business or farm that they want to pass on - a prenuptial agreement can help protect it. They can also be useful in second marriages, or in marriages where one or both parties have brought wealth to the marriage.
If you do not have a prenup in place, the courts have the discretion to decide how your assets are be divided.

 

In conclusion

So, if you do decide to set up a prenuptial agreement, we suggest you take expert legal advice and make sure all the safeguards detailed above are met.
If you would like to discuss any of the elements raised in this article please do get in touch either by phone on (01234) 711 701 or by completing our online contact form. FYI we are family law specialists based in Olney between Milton Keynes and Northampton.

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