Making the decision to tie the knot is an exciting time, and when you’re planning a wedding there’s certainly enough to think about before you even begin to consider whether or not a pre-nuptial agreement is right for you. And besides, at a time full of romance and promise, who wants to be thinking about the worst-case scenario?
Getting a pre-nup was always considered rather a taboo, with a widespread misconception that entering into an agreement meant you were expecting your marriage to fail. At the very least, pre-nuptial agreements were seen as the reserve of celebrities or the super-wealthy. However, in recent years the popularity of pre-nups amongst ordinary couples has rocketed, and it is now something that many couples turn to in order to protect their assets in future.
What is a pre-nup?
A pre-nup is essentially a guide to what happens and how assets are divided in the event of a divorce. Contrary to popular belief, it is not legally binding. The judge ultimately has discretionary powers when making the decision as to who gets what, but having a pre-nup in place will be a significant factor in their final decision, provided the judge is satisfied that certain safeguards have been met.
The conditions that need to be met in order to obtain a valid pre-nup are:
- Both parties must have taken legal advice independently
- The agreement must not have been made within the 28 days prior to the wedding
- Both parties must enter into the agreement freely and knowingly – i.e you must understand it fully and were not put under pressure to sign it
- All assets and property in existence must be declared
- You must have the agreement confirmed by your solicitor to ensure it is fair – this is because a pre-nup that is deemed unfair by a judge will likely be disregarded entirely.
Once your solicitor has drafted your pre-nuptial agreement, both of you will sign it, and your solicitor will keep a copy. Now that this has been done, the hope is that you’ll never have to bring it out again!
Isn’t it all a bit pessimistic?
Getting a pre-nup isn’t necessarily a sign that you are expecting your marriage to fail. It’s being sensible in planning for the future – divorce proceedings are hard enough without further embittering the split with disputes over assets.
Some people worry that getting a pre-nup may tarnish their relationship. But, if your relationship is solid enough to get married, it’s likely that a pre-nup won’t hurt you; it will only help you. One of the biggest benefits of having a pre-nup in place is that it can help you and your partner from having to go to court, and save you from additional stress and solicitors fees. No one can predict the future, but having an open and honest agreement with your partner about what happens in a divorce could help you part ways far less acrimoniously if it comes to it.
If you feel making arrangements for a pre-nup would not the best course of action for you and your partner at the present, it’s worth noting that there is also such thing as a ‘post-nup’. A post-nup serves the same purpose as a pre-nup but, as the name suggests, can be made after you are married.
How can I get a pre-nup?
There is no one-size-fits all pre-nup and you will need a solution tailored to your individual circumstances. It’s therefore best not to attempt any kind of DIY agreement, and instead take advice from an experienced professional when deciding upon the best course of action.
At Crisp & Co we can assist you and your partner with all aspects of obtaining pre-nuptial, pre-civil partnership, pre-cohabitation and post-nuptial agreements. Our friendly and experienced family lawyers provide practical advice and a service tailored to your family’s individual needs. If you are considering getting a pre-nup or want to find out more, get in touch with our team today.