Pre Nuptial Agreements - Your top tips to wedding season
Congratulations - you’re getting married! But are you thinking, ‘what if?’ ‘How do I protect my business?’ ‘What happens if we break up, who gets the house?’ ‘I received a large inheritance and I don’t really want to lose it?’ ‘Can I protect my pension?’
You may have known your partner for a number of years, but life is ever - changing and you don’t know what’s around the corner. You may have a number of assets that you’re bringing into a relationship, or you both have assets you want protected. To ensure your assets are safe you need a Pre-nuptial agreement (Pre-nup). We’ve created a list of top tips on making a pre-nup.
1. Don’t leave it to the last minute!
When making a pre-nup you and your fiancé must sign it at least 28 days before the wedding and no more than a year before the wedding. Each party must also obtain legal advice and possibly enter into negotiations. We always advise our clients to start the process months in advance of the wedding. Properly drafted pre-nups can take time, you don’t want a “slap dash” agreement prepared that may not be good enough to protect your financial assets. You would be silly to leave it to the last minute.
2. Full and frank financial disclosure
When meeting with your solicitor to you should provide him or her upon arrival with a clear schedule of your finances and your fiancé’s finances. This includes but not limited to, Property information, businesses, business accounts, stocks and share, capital assets including pensions and bank accounts. Your spouse will also need to disclose her financial information. The purpose of financial disclosure is to have frank discussion and negotiation on how best to prepare the pre-nup.
3. It’s not just for ‘young’ people
Pre-nups can be great tools for people entering into a second marriage or people who are re-marrying in their later years. A pre-nup can help protect assets that you may have accumulated during your youth. You may be considering whether or not entering a marriage will affect your children’s inheritance. It’s understandable that you may have trepidation on entering into a new marriage, but can take comfort in the fact that you have a pre-nup to account for the possibility of divorce.
4. Time limits
Pre-nups don’t have to last forever! You and your future spouse may agree that the pre-nup should only stay in force for a few years or put conditions on when the pre-nup stops having an effect. This can greatly help both you and your spouse build up your relationship enough that you feel a pre-nup is no longer needed.
5. Can I have a pre-nup after I get married?
YES YOU CAN! It’s called a Post Nuptial agreement. Typically couples agree a post-nup after they have missed the deadline for making a pre-nup, or one of the parties obtains a substantial capital asset, inheritance or wins the lottery for example. A post-nup in this situation may be favourable so as to protect any new assets that you have gained. However, post-nups can be a tricky arrangement as negotiations can easily fail or become lengthy leading to a sour marriage. We always advice our clients to never leave it too late.
We advise our clients that the Golden rule is, “if in doubt, get professional legal advice”. Pre-nups and Post-nups are very difficult documents to draft and prepare if you are not legally trained; these can easily go wrong leading to some disastrous results either now or in the future. If you are getting married or are already married and need advice on making a pre-nup or post-nup then please contact our Family Law Team
We offer a free, 15-minute, pre-bookable phone call with one of our experienced family law team. Alternatively, we offer a fixed £99 fee inc VAT for a 45-minute meeting with one of our highly experienced family team. If you would like some confidential advice about a family legal issue, contact us today to book a meeting. Call 01795 742291 or email email@example.com