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Family Solicitors

Should I get a Prenuptial Agreement? (8 November 2018)

Date: 08/11/2018
Duncan Lewis, Family Solicitors, Should I get a Prenuptial Agreement?

Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a prenuptial agreement, and although drawing up arrangements to separate is likely to be the last thing an engaged couple wants to do, the ever-increasing UK divorce rate may be incentive enough to consider getting a prenuptial agreement. Below, we answer some of the most common questions related to prenuptial agreements.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements or ‘prenups’ as they are most commonly known, are formal, written agreements between two partners prior to their marriage or civil partnership that set out ownership of all their belongings, including money, assets and property. Prenups arrange how these belongings would be divided should the marriage, or civil partnership break down.

But we’re in love – our marriage will never break down.

Few couples picture themselves divorced but these days statistics show that almost 50% of marriages end in divorce; with that in mind, getting a prenup can be considered a sensible and practical thing to do.

I thought only the rich and famous got prenups.

Whilst prenuptial agreements are indeed popular among celebrities and the wealthy, more and more people are opting to get one to protect their assets. According to YouGov 34% of 18-24 year olds would sign a prenup with their partner, as would 30% over the age of 60.

Why would anyone want a prenuptial agreement?

Naturally, few people get married with the intention of separating, but having a prenuptial agreement in place can have its benefits. Signing an agreement can help protect any assets accrued before the marriage. It can be seen as a practical approach to marriage and is highly recommended when there are children from a previous marriage involved as a prenup can establish future inheritance rights.

That actually sounds pretty useful – what do I need to do?

In order to comply with UK law, a prenuptial agreement must be drawn up by a solicitor. It is imperative that both parties sign the agreement by their own free will and not under duress. There is no set rule for when a prenuptial agreement is signed – a few weeks or a month before the marriage is usually the case.

There are also several other factors that need to be in place:

  • Both parties should take independent legal advice on their rights under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 before signing a prenuptial agreement, as the point of a prenup is to protect both parties.

  • To avoid conflict of interest, both parties must have different solicitors; the agreement is intended to be fair for both parties and not advantage one over the other.

  • The agreement must cover provision for any children of the marriage and/or any existing children from one or both party’s previous relationship(s).

  • All assets must be fully declared by both parties to avoid complications should the partnership end in divorce.

That sounds rather complicated.

Prenuptial agreements can appear daunting but the good news is that at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, our team of family law solicitors have the experience and expertise to draw up and assist with all matters concerning a prenuptial agreement. We understand that it can be an overwhelming prospect and one that requires sensitivity. Our aim is to make the process as easy as possible, resulting in a stress-free, professional service.

Adeeba Naseem, director of family and childcare at Duncan Lewis, regularly deals with separation, divorce and financial proceedings (domestic and international), including prenuptial and post nuptial agreements, and rare cases involving the Queens Proctor. She also specialises in handling international and domestic family law proceedings at the High Court.

Contact Adeeba on 020 3119 0220, or via email on adeeban@duncanlewis.com.

Duncan Lewis Family Solicitors

Our family & childcare teams are specialists in all aspects of family and private/public children law matters from offices across London and throughout the UK. Recognised by Legal 500 2019, the team is significantly experienced in complex financial matrimonial matters (ancillary relief) relating to the breakdown of a marriage/relationship, with a broad practice representing parents, family members and children through their Guardian in all children public law proceedings.

Since 2013, Duncan Lewis has an established Islamic & Sharia Law team which specialises in Islamic Divorce, Islamic Financial Settlement & Mahr Claims under English Law.

For expert advice, contact one of our team of specialist solicitors on 033 3772 0409.

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