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Local Legal: Should you sign a ‘prenup’ before you say ‘I do’?

The first of a new series of legal advice columns from Sarah Birdsey, of Timperley-based Nicholls Solicitors.

In the first of a new series of legal advice columns, Sarah Birdsey from Timperley-based Nicholls Solicitors takes a look at prenuptial agreements.

In modern relationships, the concept of prenuptial agreements has become increasingly common and, for some, necessary. Often misconceived as a safeguard reserved solely for the wealthy, prenuptial agreements are, in fact, a versatile tool that can benefit couples from all walks of life. 

In the UK, pre-nuptial agreements are usually given weight provided that various steps are taken when they are prepared.  

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

At its core, a prenuptial agreement is a legal contract entered into by two individuals prior to marriage.

This contract outlines the division of assets, property, finances, and potentially other matters in the event of divorce or separation.

While the content of prenuptial agreements varies depending on the couple's circumstances and preferences, common elements may include asset protection, debt allocation, spousal maintenance and inheritance rights.

Why have one?

The decision to create a prenuptial agreement should not be viewed as a lack of trust or a pessimistic outlook on the marriage. Instead, it can be a pragmatic and responsible step towards financial transparency and security. 

They provide clear guidelines for asset division, reducing uncertainty and potential conflict in the event of divorce. They can also provide peace of mind for children where a parent is marrying again, for example.

They also safeguard assets acquired before marriage, and can also protect assets for individuals with significant family wealth or business interests.

Discussing and creating a prenuptial agreement also encourages open and honest communication about financial matters, and can significantly streamline the legal process, potentially reducing the time, stress and cost associated with litigation.

How do you implement a Prenuptial Agreement?

Creating a prenuptial agreement requires careful consideration and legal guidance - here are essential steps to follow:

  • The terms of the agreement need to be fair 
  • The need of any children (or future children) need to be met
  • There needs to be full financial disclosure 
  • It is vitally important that both parties seek independent legal advice on the terms of the agreement and that it is properly executed  
  • Plenty of time should be given for consideration of the draft - a prenuptial agreement should be signed no less than 21 days before the wedding but we would advise it is dealt with much sooner  

While the cost of a prenuptial agreement can be seen as expensive, it is far less expensive than protracted court proceedings if the marriage breaks down without there being clear provision for the division of assets.  

For advice on preparing a prenuptial agreement, contact Nicholls Solicitors on 0161 980 6099 or