Anyone getting married or forming a civil partnership always hopes it will last for a long time – until death do us part, as the wedding vows say. Unfortunately, that does not always happen, and a split can get very nasty, especially when it comes to the assets of the couple.
This is where prenuptial and postnuptial agreements come in. They used to be something only the rich did, but now they are becoming more popular as people realise just how much hassle they can save if the worst happens.
In fact, 44% of single people say they would sign a prenup before getting married, and 63% of lawyers say they have seen an increase in prenup cases.
An Explanation of Prenuptial Agreements
Before you consider whether to make a prenuptial agreement, you need to understand what they are. They are a formal document which a couple signs before getting married or forming a civil partnership.
Although the laws regarding them can vary slightly in England, Scotland and Wales, they are all basically the same.
They usually detail what assets are owned by each party before the marriage and how the couple believes they should be split in the event of a separation or divorce.
They can include things such as material assets and investments like pension funds. Future inheritances can also be part of the agreement.
A postnuptial agreement is the same, except it is signed after the event of a marriage or formation of a civil partnership.
The Courts’ View
Courts do not have to abide by a prenuptial agreement in England and Wales, although generally, they have a large bearing on what the courts decide when they are dealing with breakups. In Scotland, they are a recognised legal document as long as both parties sought legal advice before signing and it was considered fair and reasonable at the time of completion.
Whichever part of the UK you are in, you will have more chance of your agreement being accepted if it was completed by prenuptial agreements solicitors. They are complex documents that need experts to get them right.
Things to Consider
There are some things that need serious consideration before a prenuptial agreement is put together if you want a court to accept it. It has to be fair and reasonable with regard to assets from before the wedding and ones gained after it.
There must not be any pressure put on either party to sign, as if there is any evidence of this, the court will not abide by what the agreement says.
This is where legal advice can come into play, as a solicitor can vouch for each party that the agreement was signed willingly.
It can also help if the couple are open and honest about their financial situation, such as what they earn and any savings they have. This just shows the court that both of them were fully aware of the other person’s situation.
With 2 out of every 5 marriages or civil partnerships ending within the first few years, it is understandable why people seek to protect what they owned before.
A prenuptial agreement can be the simplest way to do this and there is no doubt at all that their popularity will continue to rise.