Marry knowing that it is for love and not money. This pernuptial agreement (also known as a per-marital agreement) allows you to plan how you will divide your current and future wealth between you and your husband, wife or partner should you decide to divorce or separate in the future. It will help you control your ownership of important assets such as your house, sentimental possessions and your business.
About this prenuptial agreement
This prenuptial agreement is suitable for couples about to marry or enter into a civil partnership. It doesn't matter how rich either person is now, nor who is richer.
Nobody enters into marriage or civil partnership expecting it to end. However, many relationships change over time, and often in circumstances that no-one can foresee. A pre-marital agreement sets out how assets will be divided if the you separate permanently or if marriage ends. If you don't divorce or separate, then you will never use it, but if you do, then having made a plan in advance should help you avoid expensive divorce settlements, help you keep items of sentimental value such as family heirlooms or property, and help you control who inherits your wealth.
Why use this prenuptial agreement
- provides security during and after marriage to both people
- avoids future disputes over how assets should be split and what each person contributed
- helps speed up the divorce process and saves divorce costs
- helps ensure that items with sentimental value remain with the person to whom they matter most
- helps ensure that the people you choose (such as children from earlier relationships) inherit your wealth
- prevents your wealth from being gifted away shortly before break-up
- helps protect business assets from being split and sold
- makes a separation less emotionally stressful by removing the need to negotiate over as many things
Is a prenuptial agreement legally binding?
Prenuptial agreements are not legally binding. However, a prenuptial agreement will, in normal circumstances be taken into consideration by a UK court provided that:
- both people considered and understood the implications of entering into the agreement
- the agreement was not entered into under duress
- both people were honest about their wealth at the time of signing
- the agreement is fair
It is important to understand that the Court retains complete discretion to divide the assets in a financial divorce settlement as it likes. Whether you create your prenup yourself, or ask a solicitor or family law expert to do it for you, there is no guarantee that your wishes will be followed exactly.
Statute law relating to divorce, primarily the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 sets out what a judge should consider when dividing assets. The principles can be applied differently, and the actual outcome will very much depend on the person judging your case. However, a well written, sensible, prenuptial agreement is highly likely to influence a judge's decision.
The Net Lawman pre-marital agreement has been written to give you the best chance of having it upheld if you do separate or divorce. It covers financial matters only as agreements limited to finances tend to be upheld more often than ones that consider a wider range of matters. Childcare particularly has been left out, as circumstances at divorce can be very different to those at marriage and judges will want to make a judgment based on current circumstances.
As a note, to have the best chance of being upheld, a pre-marital agreement shouldn't cover how the couple should live together during married life (for example, stating how much time the couple should spend together, expected behaviour of either partner, or how domestic duties should be split). The agreement deals with what happens on separation only.
This agreement covers the following:
- The parties’ personal details
- Payment of shared household expenses
- Joint bank accounts
- Property of each party remains his own
- Prevention of one person reducing joint wealth before separation by gifting assets
- Valuation and control of a family business
- Valuation of pensions and intangible assets
- Capital calculations
- Marital home
- Maintenance payments depending on circumstances
- Other legal provisions to protect your interests
This document is drawn and maintained by qualified lawyers at Net Lawman. It is real law in plain English.
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