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You would not buy a house or start a job without a contract, so why would you enter the most important relationship of your life without one?

A pre-nuptial agreement is a written contract between two people before they get married.

Couples use these contracts to define what each person’s property rights are, should your marriage break down along with any agreements surrounding debts or future inheritance.

We recognise this all sounds unromantic and sounds like you are anticipating a divorce, but there are crucial benefits including:

• They make you and your partner confront financial issues from the outset
• They minimise conflict during divorce as the division of assets has already been agreed
• You will have control over your own assets and where they will go

Pre-nuptial agreements (“prenups”) are becoming more and more common in the UK. Whilst they are still not automatically legally binding, the courts are deeming them more and more to have decisive weight in divorce cases if they are “done right”.

To create a binding agreement, you MUST address the following:

1.      The agreement must be entered into freely and should be negotiated as far in advance of the wedding as possible, no less than 28 days before the marriage.

2.      The implications of the agreement are fully understood and that both parties should be in full possession of all material financial information before signing the agreement. Furthermore, it is important you both receive separate legal advice before signing the agreement.

3.      The agreement must be fair. It must meet the needs of any children born before or after the signing of the agreement and must leave you both comfortably provided for.

4.      You should agree to review these arrangements ideally every 5 years or on the happening of a trigger event such as the birth of any child, or if one of you is unable to work due to an incapacity or involuntary redundancy to ensure the agreement remains fair with the passage of time and in the event of a significant change of circumstances.

If you do not have a prenup and you go on to get a divorce, you will then need to work out how to split your assets at a time when emotions are already running high. If you cannot reach an agreement, your dispute may end up in court where a Judge will determine matters for you which may mean the assets being divided equally.

How much does a Pre-nuptial agreement cost?

We offer a fixed fee for this service of £1500

Included in the fixed fee

• initial advice by consultation or telephone call
• legal advice on the implications of signing the agreement
• informing you of the financial information needed from you both and thereafter draft a schedule setting out your respective positions
• drafting the agreement to reflect the agreement you have reached with your partner

Not Included in the fixed fee

• Advice on what agreement you should reach. This fixed fee package is only suitable for couples who have already reached an agreement
• Complicated cases where there are assets abroad

The fixed fee package is not available for couples with combined assets of over £1 million. For couples with combined assets of over £1 million, a much more detailed investigation of your assets is required which may involve other professional experts such as IFA’s and pension experts. In that case we would provide you with a quote

If you would like to discuss this in more detail with one of our specialist family lawyers, please contact us to arrange an appointment for a consultation on 01257 422500.