In this article specialist family lawyer and director David Cobern highlights some of the things that can be included in a pre-nuptial agreement.
Every couple’s financial situation will be different so there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when drafting a prenuptial agreement. It is always a good start to list the assets you each own, whether jointly or on your own. Use this list to discuss what should happen to these if your relationship should end. Are you going to split the assets so you each get a portion or keep them in their entirety?
The type of assets to include in a Prenup:
- Property held in your sole name or in joint names
- Savings held in bank accounts
- Premium bonds
- Stocks and shares
- Pension pots
- Debt and liabilities
- Business interests
Choosing how to divide the assets in a prenuptial agreement
For larger assets the individual who brings the asset to the relationship may be keen to protect it, particularly things like a business or property portfolio. Make sure that the agreement is fair and meets the needs of both of you. If the division of assets is weighted too heavily in the favour of one person, it may be ignored or departed from by the courts.
Prenups and Children
A Prenup should also meet the financial needs of any children you have. If this isn’t thought about and the terms of your prenup do not sufficiently provide for a child that you have responsibility for, the Court will not uphold agreement and will instead decide how your assets should be dealt with. A good prenup will provide for review and amendment on foreseeable events such as the birth of a child. This reduces the likelihood of the agreement not being enforced, due to time elapsed and/or changes in circumstances rendering it less relevant.
Independent legal advice
A prenup needs to be entered into by both parties freely and knowingly – that means you must both understand the agreement fully and agree to it voluntarily. You should both seek specialist legal advice from different lawyers. It should be signed at least 21 days before you get married and ideally longer. To achieve that, you should consult your solicitors several weeks before that.
Once your prenuptial agreement is drawn up and you and your partner are happy with it, the hope is that you will get married and never have to think about it again. However in case the worst should happen it may be useful for you both to have a copy to refer to if needed. Your lawyer will also keep a copy on file.
Hopefully you will have many happy years together – with the reassurance of a prenuptial agreement there if you need it.