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What is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is a document prepared before marriage to record what will happen should the marriage ever fail.

It generally covers financial matters but can have as much detail as you may want e.g. what would happen in relation to eventual grounds for a divorce or who would pay for the divorce.
It can provide certainty and peace of mind to both individuals starting their lives together and can protect children from previous relationships and/or deal with inheritances and even what might happen to pets.

You need to think carefully about what you want to achieve and try to be as precise, detailed and clear as possible. Although a Pre-Nuptial Agreement cannot be guaranteed to be binding in the event that the marriage fails it can be highly persuasive for any Court in the event of disputes.

It is a little like an insurance policy for a scenario that may never happen.

What does it cover?

It is designed to detail how to divide assets and set out rights in the event that the relationship fails

Why bother?

It can clearly identify what assets there are, who owns them, what happens about assets brought into the relationship, assets together, what happens about inheritances, lottery wins, existing family commitments such as children from other relationships and lots more.

It is intended to protect assets in the event that the relationship fails and in divorce to be clear about what happens to those assets.

The Courts take them very seriously.

Is it binding?

It is more likely to carry greater weight if it has been well prepared by Solicitors and each partner has had legal advice and there is detail provided about assets with supporting documentary proof about them.

What goes in them?

It is best to have as much detail as possible and record what assets there are and what debts, savings, capital, pensions and income there may be. It is a good idea to include proof to back up the detail.

The Pre-Nuptial Agreement needs to say what happens to all those items in the event that the marriage fails.

It can also say what the grounds for a divorce might ultimately be.

Will it save me money?

Probably. It is always a good idea to think of all eventualities – good or bad.

If you have both planned for the ‘worse case’ scenario then you can both be clear what happens if that occurs.

Dividing up assets in accordance with a prepared document will probably be a lot cheaper than having legal arguments and contested court proceedings.

When should we do it?

It is best to plan ahead and have it prepared about 6 months before the wedding but as long as you both have time to consider it, reflect upon it and take legal advice then having a Pre-Nup is better than having no Pre-Nup at all.

The more time between the document being prepared and signed and the wedding the better, but the detail in the document does need to be reasonably current.

Don’t leave it to be signed just as you are about to get into the wedding car!

How much does it cost?

Rubin Lewis O’Brien can talk you through the process and meet you for an initial free interview. The price may depend upon how complex your circumstances may be. For further information contact Valerie Henley on 01633 867000 or email info@rlo.law

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