6 Things You Need to Know About Prenuptial Agreements
By Sarah Perkins
With Spring underway, the days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and wedding season begins!
Changes in society continue to affect people’s attitude towards marriage and particularly around prenuptial agreements.
The average age at first marriage continues to rise into the mid 30s. With people marrying later, they bring assets they have accumulated or inherited into the marriage that they may want to protect.
Women are prioritising their careers first and starting families later, which contributes towards the trend of putting these measures in place ahead of saying ‘I do.’
Discussing finances with a loved one can be a particularly sensitive issue and nobody plans for a marriage to end, but it is important to plan for any eventuality.
To help figure out if a prenuptial agreement is for you, below are six things you need to know about prenuptial agreements.
- What is a prenuptial agreement and is it a legally valid document in England and Wales?
A prenuptial agreement consists of a formal written agreement which is entered into between the partners to the relationship ahead of the marriage. It outlines what each party is entitled to should the marriage end, as well as any other related conditions.
- Why should couples consider getting a prenuptial agreement?
Both parties should consider a pre-nuptial agreement for the simple reason that it provides peace of mind going into the marriage that all aspects of their finances, assets and property are protected. It isn’t a matter of trusting each other, but rather a matter of being responsible and planning for your own future, for any eventuality. It can also protect one partner against the other’s debt, protect inherited assets or children’s inheritance, and ensure control over business assets.
- How can a solicitor help someone make a prenuptial agreement?
A solicitor can ensure the prenuptial agreement is drafted properly. This makes it more likely the agreement will be upheld in a divorce. The agreement should be carried out at least 28 days ahead of the wedding to ensure that all matters are resolved by the ceremony. Allow as much time as possible to ensure all matters are thoroughly considered, negotiated and signed without any unnecessary pressure.
- What should someone do if they’re asked to sign a prenuptial agreement?
Before signing, you should seek advice from a qualified solicitor. This doesn’t mean that you do not trust your partner, but it is important to protect your own interests as well as your collective interests. Ensure that the agreement takes your circumstances into consideration and is much for your own good as it is for your partner’s.
- What should be included in a prenuptial agreement?
It is best to assess this on a case by case basis as it is largely related to the value of the item to the individual, both from a financial and sentimental perspective. There aren’t specific rules for what should not be included, but rather just as much is discussed and agreed as possible, and nothing is left to chance.
- What happens during a divorce if the couple has a prenuptial agreement?
In the event of a breakdown in the marriage, couples will divide ownership of their belongings based on the prenuptial agreement.Generally, assets are divided 50/50 among both parties in the event of a divorce that doesn’t involve a prenuptial agreement. However, that may feel unfair to you if you have inherited assets, you own a business, or if your partner has outstanding debt.
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