• 2 min read

What is a pre-nup?

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A pre-nup or pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement made between two people ahead of their impending marriage.

There is a common misconception that pre-nuptial agreements are only available to or suitable for celebrities or those with considerable wealth. In reality, they are a realistic option for anyone wishing to protect assets acquired before the relationship should things go wrong in the future. This is often a concern for those who have been married before and those who have children from previous relationships.

While pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding, they can carry significant weight if they are created and executed correctly. The existence of a pre-nuptial agreement can save the parties from incurring significant legal costs and shield them from some of the emotional turbulence surrounding the finances if the relationship breaks down.

For a pre-nuptial agreement to carry weight in the event of a relationship breakdown, there are certain formalities in respect of their creation and execution which must be carried out correctly:

  • Firstly, both parties must enter into the pre-nuptial agreement of their own free will and without any duress, influence or pressure.
  • They must also exchange full and frank financial disclosure with one another so that they have a clear and truthful picture of their respective finances.
  • It is very important that parties obtain independent legal advice from separate solicitors before entering into a pre-nuptial agreement.
  • Any pre-nuptial agreement should be fair and reasonable. It is important to take legal advice on this point.
  • It is important to try and finalise a pre-nuptial agreement at least 3 months prior to the wedding. In any case, a pre-nuptial agreement should be finalised no later than one month prior to the wedding.
  • The pre-nuptial agreement should be entered into by both parties on the basis that, should the relationship breakdown and the parties divorce, the terms of the agreement will be upheld.

It is also a good idea to include dates for reviewing the pre-nuptial agreement when key events take place in the future, for example upon the birth of a child. This can allow the parties an opportunity to periodically review their financial positions and ensure that the agreement is still fair and reasonable in years to come.

The last thing on most engaged couples’ minds is ‘what if it all goes wrong?’ but if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to plan for the unexpected. A pre-nuptial agreement can take away some of the uncertainty of the future and provide peace of mind should the worst happen.

If you would like to speak to our team, please call us on 0800 2800 421 or contact us here.

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