Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements

Solicitors for prenuptial agreements in the UK

Why have a prenuptial agreement?

Pre and post nuptial agreements are entered into by happy couples before or after marriage.  They can be used as an effective wealth planning tool to protect the financially stronger party to a marriage whilst at the same time providing an element of financial certainty for the financially weaker party in the event that the relationship breaks down.

Nuptial agreements are increasingly popular in this country as more and more couples are concerned by the potential cost, both financial and emotional, of getting divorced.

Couples may choose to set out in a document what will happen in the event that their marriage or civil partnership breaks down.

The most common reasons for having a nuptial agreement are:

  • Protection of inherited or family wealth or where there is a disparity in wealth between a couple
  • Second marriages: when one or both parties want to preserve some element of their estate for their children from a previous relationship
  • Private companies where there are shareholders agreements in place
  • Where there may be a debate as to in which country divorce proceedings will be heard

Our clients enter into prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements to provide:

Clarification
As to how their financial affairs will be conducted during the marriage. Without prior thought, this can often be an issue in a marriage.

Certainty
It allows a couple to agree formally how their assets should be divided if they later separate or divorce, in a way that ensures their future needs will be met.

Protection
To protect inherited assets or pre-marital wealth from financial claims by the other party on divorce. A nuptial agreement can limit the scope for uncertainty in the event of the future breakdown of the marriage/Civil Partnership.

Prenuptial agreements are not recognised in this country by statute. However, there have been a number of important cases where the judges have been prepared to reflect the terms of prenuptial agreements when making their decisions about the division of assets on divorce. This gives greater weight to such agreements and increases their chances of being upheld, subject to certain conditions being met.

These cases essentially create a three-stage test of fairness. To have the greatest chance of being upheld:

  • The agreement should be freely entered into.
  • The parties should have a full appreciation of the implications of the agreement; and
  • It must be fair to hold the parties to the agreement at the time of the divorce.

Crucially, these cases highlight the importance of each party obtaining independent legal advice either to prepare or review a document that accurately reflects the parties’ wishes, whilst at the same time producing an overall fair division.

There are also recommended time limits for the completion of prenuptial agreements; crucially you should aim to complete them 28 days before the wedding, if possible.  We are experienced in drafting the documents and guiding our clients through this process.

Rayden Solicitors

Our dedicated Nuptial Agreements Department has extensive experience in drafting these agreements.  Our experiences has been cultivated, not only over decades of drafting such agreements but, moreover, from our significant knowledge and understanding of the consequences of relationship breakdown/strife/litigation.

We can provide straightforward advice that will help you to identify whether a prenuptial agreement is appropriate for you and what terms should be included in that agreement. We are sensitive to the emotional side of negotiating an agreement. We have experience in drafting these agreements for clients from all walks of life, including those who have international links or assets abroad and we understand the interplay between marriage contracts.

Our Nuptial Agreements Department

David
Lister

Partner

“David Lister is brilliant. He has a winning sense of humour and a real spark which clients love.”

Photo of Julian Bremner

Julian
Bremner

Partner and Financial Arbitrator

“Julian has a great knack of deciphering subjective ramblings and putting a very succinct and objective communication together. He takes an extremely pragmatic approach based on case histories, the law, client input and data.”

Joanna
Kay

Partner and Collaborative Lawyer

“Joanna’s meticulous attention to detail and outstanding duty of care for myself has been reflected via numerous recommendations on my part, to a number of friends and indeed colleagues.”

Photo of Priya Palanivel

Priya
Palanivel

Partner and Mediator

“I would like to say a huge thank you for your professional understanding on this very sensitive matter. For giving me your professional knowledge in this area and advising me correctly and promptly. For the first time I felt I had support in the legal system.”

Robert
Micklem

Legal Director

Robert has extensive experience in all areas of family law. He specialises in family law agreements – nuptial, cohabitation and separation – and in advising clients in complex financial cases often with an international element.

A key requirement for pre nuptial agreements is for each person to have independent legal advice.  We are often recommended by other firms to provide independent legal advice and equally we work with many solicitors and law firms across the country and we can make recommendations as to whom your fiancé(e) may wish to consult to obtain independent advice

This network ensures that both parties will receive sensible and correct advice which will ultimately make the process as uncontentious and easy as possible.

Rayden Solicitors is committed to equality and diversity and in doing so supports and advises all members of our community.

If your circumstances change after marriage, take a look at our postnuptial page.

Prenuptial Agreement FAQs

What is a prenuptial agreement?

These agreements are becoming increasingly common for those couples planning marriage and wishing to determine what would happen in the event that the marriage breaks down. They are often prepared as part of wealth and estate planning by clients wishing to protect their wealth in the event of a future divorce.  They are also popular with clients who want to secure certainty and fairness.

How do I draw up a prenuptial agreement?

You should approach a specialist family law solicitor to discuss with them what you want to achieve from the document and ask them to draw it up.  It needs to be prepared well in advance of the date of the wedding, ideally at least 28 days before.  At Rayden Solicitors we understand the emotional sensitivity of a prenuptial agreement bearing in mind your relationship, and have experience in drafting these documents to achieve the best outcome for our clients.

What does a prenuptial agreement protect?

Typically, a prenuptial agreement protects inherited or family wealth where there is a wealth disparity between two partners. It can also involve protecting assets for existing children from a previous relationship or for private companies where shareholders’ agreements are in place.

What will the process involve?

Whether you are the person wanting to draft the pre-nuptial agreement or you have received a draft agreement from your partner, you will need to come in for a meeting to take specialist advice on the law surrounding such agreements, the impact of such an agreement on your rights and the specific terms of the agreement. That meeting will usually last 1 to 2 hours.

Following the meeting we will either draft the agreement or amend an existing agreement based on the points discussed. We will also prepare a detailed letter of advice explaining the agreement to ensure you fully understand the implications of it. Once the agreement is in an agreed form it will be sent to your fiancé(e)’s solicitor for them to review.

There may then be some negotiations as to the terms and drafting, which will need to be resolved.

Once the agreement has been approved by everyone, it will need to be signed by all parties and the advising solicitors.

How long does it take to prepare a prenuptial agreement?

This will depend on the complexity of the agreement and the speed at which the parties and their solicitors act. However, if all parties are able to work swiftly an agreement can usually be completed within 1 to 3 months. However, as the agreement should ideally be signed 28 days before the marriage, it is best to contact a solicitor as far in advance as possible before the wedding or civil partnership.

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If you would like to arrange a first meeting or have any questions, please contact us or fill in the enquiry form below.
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