Guide To Prenuptial Agreements in the UK
We all hope that when we get married, we live a long and happy one. However, if the unthinkable happens and the marriage ends, a prenuptial agreement can protect you.
These marriage contracts are no longer just for the rich and famous. With more people marrying later in life, prenups are becoming more popular for ‘normal people’ as a way of avoiding long and costly court battles in the future.
Is it unromantic or pragmatic to take practical steps to protect your money and assets in the future before getting married? We hope to unpack this all in our simplified guide.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that sets out a financial agreement that parties reach before marriage to deal with their assets in the event of a divorce.
The reasons for getting a prenup will vary in every case, but commonly they are used to protect pre-acquired wealth.
Prenuptial agreements are often used where family wealth is involved, for example, if a couple has been gifted property or shares in the family company by one spouse’s parents.
Having a prenup agreement drawn up can help remove uncertainty and costly legal battles in the future by making it clear from the outset what is to happen to money and assets within the matrimonial pot.
If your marriage breaks down in the future and you do not obtain an agreement of this nature, you are leaving it down to the courts to determine what you are entitled to in a divorce settlement.
Many couples are reluctant to enter into a prenup contract as they see it as starting off their marriage with the wrong image or intentions.
However, if you have current assets or expect to acquire assets in the future, maybe from an inheritance or trust fund, and you wish to protect them it’s sensible to discuss this with your partner in advance.
If you are marrying for the second or third time and have children from a previous marriage you may wish to protect assets or a business that you want to leave to them.
Are prenups legally binding in the UK?
In the UK, a prenup is not automatically legally binding in England and Wales in the sense that a court is not compelled by law to uphold them.
However, since 2010 prenuptial agreements have become more accepted and these days they will generally be upheld by a court so long as they meet certain qualifying criteria as set out by the Supreme Court and Law Commission:
- The agreement must have been entered into freely and judged to be fair
- The implications of the agreement must be fully understood by both parties
- The agreement must have been made a minimum of 28 days before the wedding
- There should be full disclosure about any wider financial circumstances
- Both parties entering into the agreement must have received independent legal advice
- The agreement should not prejudice any children the couple has at present or may have in the future
- The needs of both parties must be met and the agreement must be contractually valid
Prenuptial Agreement Service
Prenuptial agreements are now considered to be an essential ‘insurance policy’ for anyone entering into a marriage with assets they wish to protect.
- Fixed-fee with no hidden extras
- Professional legal advice on the implications of signing a prenup
- For £699 you receive a professionally drafted agreement in 28-31 days
Who should be considering a Pre-marital Agreement?
We have highlighted five specific reasons why a couple may decide to enter into a prenuptial agreement:
How much does a prenup cost UK?
The cost of a prenup from Divorce-Online is just £699 fixed fee with no hidden or extra costs. The cost of a prenuptial agreement from a traditional high street solicitor can be upwards to £1800 plus VAT; you can expect family law lawyers in London to charge even more!
Divorce-Online uses state-of-the-art technology which makes getting information from you much simpler. This drastically reduces the amount of time our solicitors spend extracting the basic information from you for each legal document.
Unlike high street solicitors, you aren’t required to visit our offices or attend meetings to provide basic information and this enables a more straightforward and efficient service.
Compare our service with other leading family-law providers
|Divorce-Online||Co-op Legal Services||Woolley & Co|
|Price||£699 – View our service||£1200||£1800|
|Online Service? *||Yes||No||No|
|Asset Limit||Up to £3M||£1M||£1M|
* What is an online service?
An online service is where you can submit the financial information for your prenup online without needing to complete any paperwork, make any phone calls or send any emails. It speeds up the process of having a solicitor review your information and draft the necessary prenup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Get a Prenup Online?
Can you get a prenup online in the UK is a question being asked more and more. These agreements are now considered to be an essential ‘insurance policy’ for those who want to protect their assets before entering a marriage.
Many people in the UK are now choosing this strategy and not just those with a high net worth. If both parties are in an agreement and have taken legal advice then getting a prenup online is a sensible option.
Can a prenuptial agreement be changed?
Yes, prenups can always be changed throughout the marriage and in fact, many of them have clauses inbuilt in that they might be reviewed after a certain amount of time or after big life events, such as the birth of a child.
Can I get a prenuptial agreement after getting married?
You can only get a prenup agreement before you get married, but you can get a postnuptial agreement any time during a marriage.
A postnup can cover all sorts of assets including property, savings, pensions, inheritance, and high-value art and jewellery.
The aim of a postnuptial agreement is to avoid assets becoming mixed together in the matrimonial pot and to reduce financial disputes further down the line in the case of divorce.
What is the difference between a prenup and a postnup?
Both types of agreements are very similar. The main difference is that the couple enters into a postnuptial agreement after they have married or entered into their civil partnership.
The ‘pre’ in prenuptial means that the agreement is entered into before marriage.
Can you write your own prenup in the UK?
Like with most legal contracts in the UK, you can find free templates online and work your way through them yourselves.
If your marriage ends and divorce proceedings are started then the agreement you have written yourself is very unlikely to stand up in court, let alone have legal clauses drafted correctly for debts, inheritance, pensions, and so on.
If you have valuable assets that you wish to protect in the event of divorce, do you really want to risk the agreement being thrown out of court because you haven’t spent £699 having a solicitor prepare it for you?
Mark Keenan, the founder of Divorce-Online.co.uk, said: “Discussing how assets are to be split in the event of a divorce might feel unromantic before getting wed, but it is an important step towards protecting yourself and your finances later in life.
Having these conversations won’t ruin your relationship, it could actually make it stronger. A side benefit to getting a prenup is that it forces couples to get into the day-to-day details of their finances and how they think about money.
Even if you are not currently wealthy, you never know where you will end up financially and if a relationship will stand the test of time so it’s still just as important for you”.
Prenuptial Agreement Service – £699
This service is ideal for couples that want to obtain a prenuptial agreement before marriage without spending thousands of pounds on lawyers’ fees. The agreement is drafted by qualified solicitors and will be presented to you within 28-31 working days.