The UK has traditionally had a confused and uncertain relationship with prenuptial agreements. However, cases such as Radmacher v. Granatino – which gave a prenuptial agreement heavy evidential weight – have indicated that the British courts are much more open to enforcing a prenup than in years gone by. The key is to make sure that the document is as compliant as possible with what the UK courts expect, something that most people can’t do without legal advice. If you’re considering a prenup for your relationship then there are a few key points to note.
Your prenup must be specific
There is little point in printing a generic document you’ve found online and attempting to use this for your own individual situation. You may have assets that could be difficult to split, inherited property you want to protect, a business you want to remain in control of or children or ex-spouses to take into account. All of these can seriously complicate the situation and so a prenup should be specifically drafted to your own set of facts.
Both partners need separate legal advisers
When a court is looking at whether or not a prenup should stand, one of the key factors will be whether both people entered into it with eyes open. Both parties need to demonstrate full knowledge and understanding of the prenup and of its existence. The best way to do this is to ensure that you and your partner both received independent legal advice on what your own positions would be should the prenup be called into action.
Fairness is a key consideration
Ensuring that a prenup is fair is not that simple given the subjective nature of the concept of ‘fairness.’ However, it is possible to avoid the most obvious pitfalls of unfairness by working with a lawyer. For example, if one party were to be responsible for drawing up the prenup it would most likely naturally be weighted in their favour, even if this was a subconscious choice. Using an objective third party enables fairness to be on the table from the start to give the prenup the best possible chance of success.
Timing is important
Last minute prenups don’t go down that well in court. So, if you’re about to take the plunge with a legally recognised union give yourself plenty of time to work with a solicitor to draw up, agree and sign the prenup – at least a month before you get hitched.
Clarity now will protect future relationships
Prenups come in to play at a very difficult time when a relationship has broken down and when emotions are running high. A clear prenup can play a big role in helping to ensure a swift split – and giving you the best possible chance of amicably going separate ways. Without a prenup, relations can dissolve into angry fighting and bitterness that can take months, or even years, to resolve – often at great expense. Working with solicitors to create a clear and unambiguous prenup now could save a lot of time, money and heartache in the future.