If you and your future spouse or civil partner have assets which each of you would like to own as individuals rather than jointly, record these assets in a prenuptial agreement. This will ensure that any assets, be it property, cash or heirlooms owned prior to marriage or civil partnership will be owned by the individual and not jointly. This premarital or pre-civil agreement covers situations where both parties have taken independent legal advice or where both have made a considered decision not to.
When should I use a prenuptial agreement?
Use this prenuptial agreement if you:
- are getting married or entering into a civil partnership
- both want to agree that assets owned separately will remain in separate names
- both want to agree that neither of you will have any claim against the other for maintenance or support if the marriage or partnership breaks down
- both agree to complete this agreement and have been honest about your finances and property
- both have taken independent legal advice or decided not to
What's included in a prenuptial agreement?
This prenuptial agreement (prenup) covers:
property and money owned individually by those getting married or a civil partnership that are to remain theirs if the marriage breaks down
an agreement that neither party will have any claim against the other for maintenance or support if the marriage or partnership breaks down
property acquired after the marriage or partnership will be divided as the couple agree or as ordered by a court
confirmation that the couple have entered into the agreement freely, and have taken or had the opportunity to take independent legal advice
A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is used where two parties wish to set out what will happen to their premarital or pre-civil partnership assets in the event of a divorce or dissolution.
What’s a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between two people before they get married or enter into a civil partnership. It sets out the property and money that belong to each person before the marriage or civil partnership and clarifies what is intended to remain the property of that person after the ceremony and even after the marriage/civil partnership itself.
Do I need a prenuptial agreement?
If you intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership and want to keep previously acquired assets, such as property separate then you can record this in a prenup.
Can I use a prenup if forming a civil partnership?
Yes - This document can be used for both marriages and civil partnerships.
Is a prenuptial agreement legally binding?
Prenuptial agreements are not currently legally binding in England and Wales, but in most cases the court will be persuaded to uphold a prenuptial agreement provided it has been properly drawn up and executed.
What steps should we take before signing a prenup?
It is recommended that both of you seek independent legal advice and prepare full disclosure of your respective financial positions before signing a prenuptial agreement. You must think carefully about the terms and make the agreement as precise, clear and detailed as possible. If you feel you need further advice before signing a prenuptial agreement, Ask a lawyer.
What should I include in description of assets?
In the description of assets you must disclose all of your previously acquired assets and you must not withhold any valuable possessions or goods. If you don't, the agreement may be invalid.
What about assets acquired after marriage/civil partnership?
Any assets acquired after marriage or civil partnership will be divided by agreement or judicial determination should there be breakdown of marriage or civil partnership.
Ask a lawyer for advice if:
- you have children
- you have unequal assets because there could be an argument that one party felt 'forced' into making the agreement (if both take independent legal advice this claim is unlikely to be successful)
- you want to take legal advice before entering into this agreement
- you wish to work out any maintenance payments in advance