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Four reasons to get a prenup

08.07.2016

A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, doesn’t fall under most people’s definitions of ‘romantic’. After all, the whole point of marriage is supposed to be about a lifelong commitment, isn’t it?

Maybe so, but with one third of UK marriages ending in separation and a number of stories hitting the news about bumper divorce settlements, it’s perhaps worth being a little pragmatic about the “for richer, for poorer” idea.

Prenups in the UK aren’t legally binding contracts (unlike the US) but they do provide a strong basis for a negotiated settlement should things not go according to plan and the marriage break down.

If a dispute over finances gets as far as court, the prenup agreement can be submitted into evidence for consideration – but in reality the existence of a prenup often prevents things from getting this far, enabling you to settle out of court.

So, if you do opt for a prenup, what safeguards does it give you?

Finance + property

How much do you know about your other half’s finances? Couples often enter marriage not only with differing incomes and savings, but also differing debts.

By establishing in writing who earns what, who owns what and who owes what before the marriage, you create a clear guide which can inform divorce proceedings and prevent incomes, assets and debts from being split 50-50.

Inheritance

If you expect to inherit over the course of your marriage, then a prenup can define inherited assets, including possessions which have sentimental value, as yours and yours alone.

The prenup might not protect your inheritance completely from a divorce settlement, but by clarifying in advance that it’s yours and yours alone, you build the foundations of a strong case for keeping it away from the negotiating table.

Second marriages + families

If your spouse has been married before or has children from a previous relationship, they may well be paying maintenance to a former partner. The terms of your prenup can stipulate which of your marital assets can be used to pay this maintenance and which are protected, in the event that you also get divorced.

Business

If you own your own business, it’s an asset with a cash value – which means it can be divided up as part of a divorce settlement. You can build protections for your business into a premarital agreement, protecting your livelihood from being stripped or sold off to pay for a divorce.

Further information

Our family law solicitors in Bristol have a wealth of experience in advising on prenups and other premarital matters. To speak to a solicitor about your circumstances, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.

We offer all new clients a free 30 minute consultation with a family law expert to talk through your options.

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