In the UK, February 7th – 14th is National Marriage week

probate registry
6th February 2015
power of attorney
13th February 2015

Prenuptial Agreements/Cohabitation Agreements

Darling will you make me the happiest person alive and marry me?

Oh yes what a surprise I would love to marry you.

By the way we need to take a trip to my Solicitor so you can sign away your rights to claim my money should we ever divorce!!

Whist it may not be the most romantic start to a married life, prenuptial agreements have become an essential part of preparing for a marriage.

More and more couples are now realising the benefits of protecting their pre-marriage wealth by putting in place a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous.  Anybody intending to marry or couples wanting to cohabit together should seriously consider protecting their assets whether it be money or property.  A prenuptial agreement/cohabitation agreement can record your assets and liabilities and show your intentions in relation to finances.  It may not be one of the most romantic subjects for couples to discuss but it could certainly save a lot of heartache in the future and provide peace of mind.

If you already have children from another relationship and have substantial assets and you want to protect them for your children’s future if your marriage breaks down, or you have been married before and will be bringing property into the marriage that you want to keep separate for your own children, you should certainly take legal advice about drawing up an agreement.

What is a prenuptial agreement/cohabitation agreement

A prenuptial agreement/cohabitation agreement is a contract entered into before marriage or cohabitation which directs how couples want to divide their money and property should the relationship break down.

Are they legal in the UK

Following a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court’s in the Radmacher v Granatio case in October 2010, prenuptial agreements are likely to be upheld unless considered to be unfair by the Court.  The decision of the Supreme Court means that prenuptial agreements now carry more weight.

How do I make a prenuptial/cohabitation agreement

You should instruct a solicitor.  You should make an agreement that sets out how you and your partner would divide assets fairly.  To do this you should make sure:-

  • The agreement is drawn up by a qualified solicitor so that it will comply with UK law
  • You and your partner seek independent legal advice or at least have that opportunity
  • The agreement is entered into by both parties freely and with intension to create legal relations
  • The agreement is signed as long as possible before the marriage and at least 28 days before the marriage to avoid claims that it was arranged in a rush therefore placing one party under pressure
  • You each make a full disclosure of all your assets and property in existence
  • The agreement will need to be fair to each party

Once the agreement is drawn up your solicitor will provide you both with a copy for safe-keeping and retain a copy on file.  In the event that the relationship breaks you can produce the document for consideration by the court.

Hopefully this situation will not arise and you will enjoy living happily ever after together.  However, you have the peace of mind that the agreement is in place should you ever need to use it.

For further advice or to draft an agreement for your future reassurance contact our Matrimonial Team on 01639 885261/ and we will be happy to assist you