Before getting married or entering a civil partnership, it is worth considering whether a pre-nuptial agreement, otherwise known as a pre-nup, is suitable.
What is a pre-nuptial agreement?
A pre-nuptial agreement is a written agreement which shows your intentions should your marriage or civil partnership end. Pre-nuptial agreements can be tailored to you and your partner to cover anything (providing it is fair). Some examples of things couples wish to include in their pre-nuptial agreement are as follows:
- What happens to your home;
- What happens to any properties brought into the marriage or inherited;
- What happens to money held in joint accounts or saved during the marriage;
- What happens to your pensions;
- What happens to your debts;
- Whether either of you are to pay or receive maintenance, and the duration;
- Whether the pre-nuptial agreement is to be reviewed at any point; and
- Whether any agreements for current or future children would be put in place.
Effect on the court
Should your marriage or civil partnership end, the court are not necessarily bound to follow your agreement, but it is likely that the court will give it due consideration providing it is fair.
Sometimes, the court will uphold one part of a pre-nuptial agreement whilst holding another part to be unfair.
How can we reach a pre-nuptial agreement?
This is entirely dependent on you as a couple. Some partners are happy to agree it together, whilst others prefer using solicitors or mediation to negotiate. Should you require us to negotiate, the Heald family team will help you to reach a fair and sensible agreement.
What happens if we have children in the future?
You must be careful to ensure that a pre-nuptial agreement does not affect your future children negatively. It is normal to include provisions for children in your pre-nuptial agreement, even if you do not have any at the time.
If your marriage or civil partnership were to end, the court’s paramount consideration is always the welfare of the children. Therefore, it is important not to include any agreement which might affect your children negatively such as an agreement to opt out of providing financial support for any children.
This information is designed to be neutral and will be given to everyone to whom it is relevant. It is not designed to replace detailed legal advice tailored to your particular circumstances. It is intended to help you identify some options which may be open to you. It is not for reproduction and may not be used in any other context.