Prenuptial Arrangements

A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is a legal document that both parties sign before they get married to record the way in which they will operate their financial lives within the relationship and in particular to record any agreements they may have reached about how matters should be dealt with if the marriage breaks down.

Some years ago these Pre-nuptial agreements would not have been upheld by any court, but recent case law indicates that the courts will take into account such agreements when a divorce takes place.

It is important to appreciate that the court still reserves the right to review matters when a divorce takes place, so we are not yet at a stage when one can guarantee such an agreement is binding.

However the fact that the court will have regard to a properly drawn pre-nuptial agreement has resulted in more and more people entering into one.

When Appropriate
Pre-nuptial agreements are often drawn up when one party to an intended marriage is bringing in significantly more assets than the other and both parties feel it fair that should be recognised should the marriage break down.

Another common example is when it is a second marriage and the couple each have their own assets which they want to protect for themselves and /or their children should the marriage not be successful.

Often the preparation of a Pre-nuptial agreement goes hand in hand with a new Will as well.

Careful Preparation
There is no standard “off the shelf” pre-nuptial agreement and each one needs to be drafted with your particular circumstances in mind.  Important points connected with preparing a pre-nuptial agreement are: –

  • The courts expect the document to be prepared at least several weeks if not longer before the marriage so that neither of the parties feel pressurised in completing the document because of the closeness of the marriage
  • Each party needs to be represented by their own independent solicitor. Accordingly if we see you and draft the document, your intended partner will need to see a separate solicitor to advise them on the document to ensure that they are fully aware of the terms and the implications of it.
  • In drafting the document each party should make a full disclosure of their current finances so that there is an open and full disclosure between you.

We will be happy to see you to discuss the preparation of a pre-nuptial agreement but as indicated it is important that you come to see us at least a few months before the intended marriage to give us time to discuss the matter with you, draft the document and for your intended partner to take advice.

Acting for one party only
Please note that our professional rules mean that we can only act for and see one of the parties to an intended marriage and the other party will need to see an independent Solicitor of their own (in a different firm) to take advice about the Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

Because of the individual nature of these agreements and the significant implication of them, they usually involve a number of hours of work. We will discuss the likely charge with you, taking into account your own requirements. Our charge will be based on the time spent and can be around £750 to £1000 plus VAT in straightforward matters and more in complex situations.