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The Wedding Season has arrived - a few things to think about...

View profile for Nameeta Gujral
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Spring is here, our gardens are beginning to fill with colour, our evenings are brighter and the English wedding season is around the corner. The website www.hitched.co.uk suggests that each year UK weddings are worth £10billion, with each wedding costing approximately £36,000. 

An increasing number of couples are choosing to prepare Prenuptial Agreements before they get married.  Over the past few years, there has been a big change in couples attitudes when considering finances. No longer considered to be for celebrities, Prenuptial Agreements are beginning to feature on couples pre-wedding checklists. To help you decide whether a Prenuptial Agreement is for you, here are a few facts.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A Prenuptial Agreement is a formal written agreement between two partners entered into prior to their marriage. It sets out details of assets and explains how these will be divided in the event of a breakdown of the marriage. 

Do I need a Prenuptial Agreement?

The Agreement will provide a clear understanding of what should happen to assets and can be particularly useful if:-

  • You are a couple marrying for the first time and wish to keep assets owed prior to the marriage and/or the relationship separate. 
  • You have already been through a separation or divorce and want to avoid possible complication and legal costs in the future. 
  • You wish to preserve assets for your children from a previous relationship.
  • You have business assets you wish to protect.
  • You have inherited wealth. 
  • If your partner has outstanding debt, it can contain a debt clause to protect you from being liable for that debt. 

Are Prenuptial Agreements legally binding in the UK?

The Court is now much more likely to uphold any of these Agreements provided, amongst other things, you have both entered into the Agreement freely, you both understand each others financial positions at the time of the Agreement, you have both undertaken independent legal advice and it is considered to be fair and reasonable. 

The Court can vary the terms of the Agreement. However, now the responsibility is on the person pursuing an alternative settlement to prove that the Agreement they entered into before the marriage was unfair. 

Can I change a Prenuptial Agreement after we are married?

As long as your spouse agrees to the terms of the change, the Agreement can be amended and updated as and when you wish. 

What should be included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

The agreement is tailored to a couples particular circumstances. It will list out each partner’s assets and details of how they are to be dealt with in the event of a marriage breakdown. 

In the event that there are children, the Agreement may set out post-divorce financial arrangements for the children. The Court are unlikely to accept any terms in the Agreement that are deemed to be harmful to the interest of a child.

What happens to the assets if a marriage with no Prenuptial Agreement in a divorce?

Without an Agreement, the starting point for the division of the assets will be equal division between both parties. 

It is a really exciting time with so much to organise, there are a number of important aspects that can be easily forgotten. Whilst your Agreement may not be the most romantic thing on your pre-wedding checklist, anyone with assets should consider seeking advice prior to getting married.

For more information or to arrange an appointment to speak with one of our Family Law Experts within your own no obligation, ‘Fixed-price Initial Legal Advice’ Consultation – speak to our New Enquiries Team on: 01474 546 013.

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