Prenuptial agreements, also known as prenups, are legal documents put in place prior to a marriage. The prenuptial agreement lays down what will happen to the couple’s assets and how they will be divided should their marriage break down.
In the past, prenups were widely used in the USA, with no legal standing here in the UK courts, other than a document for the judge to consider. However, this has changed and a prenuptial agreement is now recognised as enforceable providing it is fair to both parties.
This change was brought about in the case of Katrin Radmacher, whose £106m was protected by a prenuptial agreement in 2010. Whilst it may seem fatalistic and unromantic foreseeing the end of your marriage, you may have some sympathy with Ms Radmacher making a prenuptial agreement ‘just in case’, but in what circumstances would this apply to your own life.
Interestingly, there are a number of valid reasons to make a prenuptial agreement. As the family structure is changing in the UK, there are many more second marriages. This may mean that money was paid out in the first divorce that you want to protect for your children’s future or your partner or a loved one has leaving you with an inheritance that you want to keep separate from your finances in your current marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are also being used by couples who do not like the way the courts apply their powers to the division of assets during a divorce. Both parties can agree at the outset how their belongings, finances and assets will be divided in the event that they split up.
This is an interesting interpretation of the law and a far cry from the stereotypical view of a wealthy husband divorcing his wife and leaving her penniless as a result of a prenup.
Whatever your reason for seeking a prenuptial agreement, talking it through with your partner is vital, so that you are both aware of the situation early on and that the prenup doesn’t get presented two weeks before the wedding. This could be seen to be exerting undue influence on your partner.
This information provided in this article is not intended to constitute legal advice and each relationship breakdown requires careful consideration in our view by a fully qualified Solicitor before decisions are made and before you embark on a certain course of action.
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