What is a PreNup and Do I Really Need One?
Prenuptial agreements explained
Often we see many celebrity weddings end with acrimonious marital breakdown and it is rife within the news.
That’s why it has been quite refreshing to see that two very well known celebrities, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, have reached an amicable agreement during their divorce. It appears that under the terms of a prenuptial agreement both parties were able to keep their respective property separate.
Prenup - Romantic view
This brings the question, why don’t more couples enter into prenuptial agreements? For many, the thought of asking your beloved to sign a legal contract to set-out what happens to your assets should you break-up, will dampen the true romantic concept that 'our love will last forever' and the whole point of marriage or civil partnership is that you trust one another completely with your commitment to a future life together. No couple expects to have a relationship breakdown, though most people have some assets to protect should the worst happen.
Prenup - Practical view
Often you find with people marrying for a second or third time that they have a practical view and experience to know that marriages can end. People with a unequal level of assets on entering the marriage [one partner has more asset wealth than the other] are more likely to consider a prenup as a valuable and essential legal tool to protect their interests in the future. Also business owners who marry should certainly consider having a prenup. Prenups are a very good idea, for example, to protect the future interests of children from a previous marriage. Overwhelmingly, prenups look at the practical view 'I love you, but should the marriage fail, let's be prepared', and they can stop subsequent divorces becoming protracted, costly and emotionally damaging.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
Often termed a ‘Prenup’, prenuptial agreements are a legal agreement that sets out how assets should be divided between couples in the event of a divorce.
Couples do not enter into marriage with the intention of divorcing, however a prenuptial agreement can help provide clarity and certainty around arrangements in the event that a breakdown of marriage and communication took place. It may help a potentially stressful and heated situation become more amicable.
Are prenuptial agreements legally binding?
Prenuptial agreements are not automatically legally binding within the UK. Parties' situations may have changed throughout the marriage and the will need to take that into account. The Supreme Court and Law Commission have provided some qualifying criteria that will mean a prenup is more likely to be enforceable:
The agreement must be fair and freely entered into
Both parties must understand the implications of the agreement
The agreement must be contractually valid
It must be made at least 28 days before the wedding takes place
There should be disclosure about the wider financial circumstances and it should not prejudice any children the couple have or might have in the future
Both parties’ needs must be met
Both parties must have received independent legal advice regarding the agreement and its potential outcomes.
Do I need a solicitor to make a prenuptial agreement?
Without independent legal advice for both parties to the prenup it will not be legally binding and not enforceable in court if the marriage was to break down.
Although divorce might not be something couples will envisage happening, it is always worth contacting your local solicitor for advice on whether a prenuptial agreement can and should be made in your own situation.
Shannon Biddiss, Paralegal, Family Department
Lawson-West Solicitors, Leicester
Lawson-West Solicitors is here to help explain the implications of any agreements and guide you through the process. Please contact us today for an initial discussion about your current situation and if a prenup is right for you. If you have all the information, you can make an informed judgment. Contact Us here.