Do I need a pre-nuptial agreement?

28th June 2021 9:00 am Comments Off on Do I need a pre-nuptial agreement?

If you are planning to get married or enter a civil partnership, you may wish to enter into an agreement that shows what you intend to happen to your money and property if the marriage or civil partnership were to end. For example, what will happen to property that either of you brought into the marriage? What will happen to any property given to you or inherited during the marriage or any income or assets derived from trusts? Such an agreement is known as a “pre-nuptial agreement”.

Why enter into a pre-nuptial agreement?

There are many reasons for entering into a pre-nuptial agreement. Perhaps you simply like to be as organised as possible with your finances. However, a pre-nuptial agreement might be particularly beneficial where:

  • one of you has substantially greater capital or income than the other;
  • one or both of you wishes to protect assets you owned prior to the marriage, including inheritances or family trusts;
  • it would be beneficial to define what is considered to be ‘matrimonial property’ or ‘non-matrimonial property’, for example in relation to business assets owned by one of you prior to the marriage;
  • one or both of you has children from a previous marriage or relationship and wishes to protect assets for the purposes of inheritance planning; and
  • one or both of you has a connection with, or property in, another jurisdiction.

Are pre-nuptial agreements legally binding?

In England and Wales, pre-nuptial agreements are not strictly binding in the event of a later divorce. Nevertheless, the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement may be decisive in the event of a dispute that is dealt with by the court, unless the effect of the agreement would be unfair. To improve the prospect that the court will not consider the agreement to be unfair, if it is necessary to rely on it, both of you will need to set out your financial circumstances in full (known as “financial disclosure”) and take independent legal advice on the agreement and its effects.

We would advise you to ensure that the agreement is finalised at least twenty-one days prior to the ceremony, so that neither of you feels undue pressure to agree to anything. It can take time to deal with financial disclosure, negotiations and legal advice, so it is important to plan in advance.

Even though pre-nuptial agreements are not always binding, you should not enter into a pre-nuptial agreement unless you intend to be bound by the terms of that agreement.

Will my international connections affect the making of a pre-nuptial agreement?

Where either you or your proposed spouse, or both of you, have a connection with another country, either as to assets, domicile, habitual residence, or future plans, and you are considering entering into a pre-nuptial agreement, a specialist family lawyer should be instructed in each relevant country to advise you on the need for and effect of such an agreement in that country.

Contact us

Please do not hesitate to call us on 01628 631051 or to email family@colemans.co.uk. We offer an initial one hour fixed fee meeting for £168 including VAT, during which one of our specialist family solicitors would be able to provide you with detailed and confidential advice about entering into a pre-nuptial agreement.


Categorised in: Family Law

This post was written by Colemans Solicitors LLP

© Colemans Solicitors LLP, 2021
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The information given on this website is not a comprehensive review of the law and practices in this area and does not constitute legal advice on a specific issue. Colemans Solicitors LLP does not therefore accept liability if you rely on or apply this information to your specific situation without taking bespoke advice. To seek detailed legal advice in relation to your specific circumstances or transaction please contact us.