What Needs to be in a Prenuptial Agreement?

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This article was updated on 25 July 2022.

Once you and your partner have decided to put a Prenuptial Agreement (Prenup) in place, you need to think carefully about what you need to include in it. No two Prenuptial Agreements are the same, as each couple will tailor their agreements to suit their own particular circumstances.

What Needs to be in a Prenup?

  • How assets should be held during your marriage.
  • How you would deal with a change in circumstances during your marriage, such as what would happen in the event of illness, loss of income, if children are born in the future, and the acquisition of future assets such as a family home.
  • How assets and income should be divided and how these should be dealt with if you were to get a divorce.

It’s important that the provisions made in a Prenup are clear, precise and contain as much detail as possible. Our Family Law Solicitors can provide specialist legal advice at this stage, so they meet your specific needs and clearly reflect both your wishes. Once the details are clear we’ll provide you with a written fixed fee cost of drafting your Prenuptial Agreement, before any work begins.

For initial advice get in touch with our Family Law Solicitors.

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Do I Need a Prenup?

It’s well worth getting a Prenup if any of the following apply to you:

  • You already own your home and want to protect your ownership.
  • You have or will be given an inheritance and want to protect it.
  • You’ve been married before and want to safeguard the financial settlement you got after you divorced.
  • You’ve been widowed and want to protect your possessions before remarrying.
  • You believe that if your marriage came to an end, you’d have to go through a lengthy Court dispute over your assets.
  • You’ve acquired wealth and want to make sure you can leave enough to your children when you make a Will. 
  • You are a high earner and want to protect your income, bonuses or any investments that you have accrued.
  • Your partner comes from overseas and you want to move to their country of residence, but it has unfavourable laws on how a couple should split their assets.
  • You have business assets prior to entering the marriage that you want to protect.
  • You need to protect your interest in property held overseas.

Prevent Hostile Situations

A Prenup can also provide a basis for child residence and maintenance. Often, when a couple goes through separation, they’ll argue over who the children should live with and how much money should be paid in child maintenance.

Disputes such as this often take a long time to resolve, especially when the parents have separated on bad terms. A Prenup can help to alleviate this problem, as it sets down a fair and equal solution while a potentially hostile situation is occurring.

Couples may also want a Prenup to provide a safety net in the event of their partner committing adultery. If this happens, a forfeit may be put in place, such as money or other assets. Although adultery as a reason for divorce is on the decline, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Many couples, particularly those in second marriages after a difficult divorce, may find this provision a necessary one.

Even where a pre-nuptial agreement is in place, if one party no longer wishes to proceed with the terms of the agreement, the Court will be asked to determine the matrimonial finances. 

This means the Court will consider the 'Section 25 factors' contained within the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to decide whether or not the terms of the agreement are fair and reasonable. 

If a Court is asked to review a pre-nuptial agreement, their first consideration will always be any children that you have, so any provisions must be considered as fair.

How Can I Get a Prenup?

In England and Wales, in order to get a Prenup, you and your partner both need to take independent legal advice from a specialist in this field such as a Family Law Solicitor. Our Family Law Solicitors can provide you with specialist legal advice and assistance with drafting a Prenuptial Agreement that meets your specific needs.

It’s important you both fully understand the terms of the agreement you reach and that the person who has the most to lose understands the implications of signing a Prenuptial Agreement.

You both need to provide full disclosure of your financial assets before the agreement is prepared, and it’s also worth including a review of the agreement in the document, so you can reassess any clauses at specified periods during your marriage; such as when you buy a house or have children.

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