Prenuptial Agreement Myths to Stop Believing
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A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract entered into between a couple before getting married. It documents how property, money, assets, and other financial obligations are to be handled in the event of a divorce.
It’s not uncommon for couples to include clauses around inheritance, business assets, and pensions within nuptial agreements.
Signing a prenuptial agreement before marriage is not compulsory and has to be freely entered into by a couple to avoid drawn-out and costly legal battles in the future.
Here are the five most common myths surrounding prenuptial agreements in the UK:
1 – They’re only to protect one spouse’s wealth
Most people assume prenups are only useful for wealthy people who want to ‘ring-fence’ their money and assets.
However, this is a common myth and is not the case.
A court would not accept a legal document that is so unfairly one-sided. Prenups are not just about protecting wealth.
Discussing a nuptial agreement with your partner before getting married can be most helpful. It’s not unromantic to discuss important topics with your soon-to-be husband or wife.
Contrary to being unromantic, starting married life with open eyes about each other’s finances can lead the way to an even happier relationship.
Nuptial agreements are a mechanism for couples to avoid lengthy legal battles in the future.
2 – You can make one at any point
Many people assume that they can just write a prenup right before they walk down the aisle or even after marriage.
A prenuptial agreement or any nuptial agreement for that matter should be entered into as far in advance of any key date as possible.
In this case, a prenup agreement should be signed at least 28 days before getting married.
Doing so gives sufficient time for financial disclosure to be prepared and legal advice to be obtained by all involved parties.
It’s recommended to start discussing nuptial agreements 3/4 months before getting married. This gives time for proper discussion without interrupting wedding planning.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement? – Learn more about these post-divorce agreements.
3 – Prenups are not recognised by the courts
Whilst prenups are not legally binding in the sense that Judges are obliged to uphold them, they are regarded as key documents within a separation.
Put simply, nuptial agreements carry legal weight, and spouses will typically be held to them.
The recent case of MN v AN  EWHC 613 (Fam), highlights this point and makes clear that the court will uphold a prenup agreement if certain conditions are met.
The Supreme Court makes clear that a nuptial agreement will be upheld unless one person can show why it should not be. For example, the creation of the contract was unfair with a spouse being under duress.
The Supreme Court said that:
“The court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to the agreement”.
The key aspects here are to ensure you have the contract professionally drafted by a solicitor and receive legal advice before having it prepared.
Our service for £799 is an affordable and straightforward way to obtain a Prenup. (It also includes legal advice on the implications of signing a prenup)
4 – They’re only suitable for very wealthy people
This is a common oversight for many couples about to enter into marriage.
It is becoming especially common for older couples who are possibly getting married for the second time and wish to protect assets for themselves (pensions) and any children from previous relationships (savings, property, etc).
Do not be fooled into thinking that only celebrities and the super-rich can benefit from prenuptial agreements because, in reality, a vast number of couples can live happier lives knowing they’ve made the agreement.
Of course, if your situation changes in the future, the prenup can be revisited and amended to reflect your new circumstances; this goes for both parties, not just the one with the perceived wealth.
5 – You can only sign one before you get married
Whilst this is technically true for prenuptial agreements, there is another nuptial agreement couples can enter into once married.
This is called a postnuptial agreement and works in the exact same way only apart from it being entered into during marriage and not before.
Once you have entered into the contract, you can revisit it again in the future, either at 5/10-year intervals or when significant events happen, e.g. having children together.
This nuptial agreement is especially useful in situations when a couple doesn’t wish to rush signing an agreement before marriage.
A postnuptial agreement gives the couple a legal framework to follow in the event of a divorce.
How Divorce-Online Can Help
Hopefully, by reading this blog you will have understood that all of the myths you may have read about Prenups in the media aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.
‘Normal couples’ can benefit greatly from starting discussions about their finances by entering into marriage with confidence and openness.
If for any reason the marriage breaks down, you have a legal contract to fall back on to help you stay out of court and avoid unnecessary stress and legal fees.