Do you need a prenuptial agreement?

Pre-nuptual agreements do not necessarily mean you have no faith in your marriage lastingPre-nuptual agreements do not necessarily mean you have no faith in your marriage lasting

On first impression, the idea of applying something as callously pragmatic as a prenuptial agreement to your wedding and future marriage may seem unfathomable. How can you consider signing a document which implies your marriage may not last? Try to get past this notion and don’t angrily drag your mouse pointer towards that little cross in the top corner of your screen just yet! Read on to get the lowdown on prenuptial agreements and decide whether a prenup is right for you...

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial (aka ante-nuptial agreement or premarital agreement) is a simple premise. In theory, it states that the goods, assets and property owned by individuals before the marriage will remain the property of the respective parties in the event of a divorce or separation. It will also lay down an agreement on what will happen to any assets acquired during the course of the marriage.

Considerations for a prenuptial agreement

Prenups are on the face of things pretty self-explanatory. If you are entering a marriage with vastly different assets than your wife or husband-to-be, it would make sense to at least take some legal advice on how to protect them. In a perfect world marriage would last forever, but of course that is not always the case and a large proportion of marriages do not stand the test of time.

Another thing you have to consider when mulling over the pros and cons of a pre-marital agreement is children. If you already have children from a previous relationship then a prenuptial contract can help guarantee that your assets remain yours for the children’s future. Alternatively, consider that any future children you may have with your spouse could affect the terms of the prenuptial.

Broken down, a prenup gives you and your partner the chance to calmly and fairly decide on what will happen to assets in the event of marital break down while the parties involved are still … well, sensitive to each other’s feelings.

How legally enforceable is a prenup?

The problem with prenuptial agreements is that their validity as a legal document varies significantly depending on where you live. Here is the major hiccup. In the UK there is no legal precedent for the enforcement of a prenuptial. That's right; the document is worth nothing if the divorce court decides to ignore it.

They may do this for any number of reasons and will ignore the contract entirely if they judge it to be unfair on any party involved in the divorce especially, as we touched on before, if there are children or minors that may be adversely affected by the terms of the agreement.

As a way to help inform their decision the court and the judge are likely to at least consider the terms of the prenup, but they do not have to. There have been occasions where terms of pre-marital agreement have been upheld and the courts seem to be increasingly willing to adopt and enforce the provisions laid out by pre-marital agreements. To strengthen the document make sure both parties are present at the signing and state they understand the terms. You should probably ensure that both parties have the agreement checked by independent legal counsel.

Final thought on prenuptial agreements

All in all, the decision on whether or not you need to look into getting a prenuptial agreement can be complicated one. We would advise that you take emotions out of the picture and view a prenup as rationally as possible. Really, unless you're rich and your spouse intends to quit their job after the wedding you probably don't need a prenup! Read more on
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