In the UK, a Prenuptial Agreement, or Prenup, is a contract agreed upon by two parties that stipulates how their money and assets will be divided up, should their marriage end in divorce.
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, prenups are not legally binding but they are well regarded by courts and are usually upheld, as long as certain conditions are met (see below).
In Scotland prenups are legally binding and must be followed by the court.
When do you get a prenup?
A prenup is designed be signed before you enter into marriage. The ideal time to start thinking about getting a prenup is 6-12 months before your wedding. Deciding whether to get a prenup may be a sensitive conversation to have with your partner, so it is best to get it done as soon as you can.
If you decide to get a prenup, the process may take some time, so starting early means you can aim to get it signed sooner. The ideal time to sign your prenup would be no later than 2 months before the wedding.
If you decide that you would like a prenup after you have already gotten married, you can instead get a postnup.
How do you get a prenup?
You can acquire a prenup in a number of different ways.
There are websites that offer downloadable prenup services, often for free, however these may not be the most robust contracts for a court of law. For a more serious and professional service, it is best to contact a solicitor, preferably one that specialises in family law.
In order for the prenup to be recognized in a UK court you must meet the following stipulations:
-Both parties must have entered into the agreement willingly.
-Both parties must have sought independent legal advice from a qualified solicitor
This avoids any accusation that one party was forced or co-opted into signing the prenup.
-The contract must be signed at least 21-28 days before the marriage
This avoids any allegations of it being rushed through as a last-minute thought.
-There should be full disclosure about all financial assets
This makes the agreement open and honest, making it more trustworthy to a court.
-No children you may have are subjected to prejudice within the agreement
This ensures your child has all their legal and ethical requirements appropriately covered.
-A solicitor has deemed the agreement to be fair
What should be included?
There are no legal requirements for what to include in a prenup, you can divide up any assets you wish. This can be anything from money to property to furniture.
If you’re not sure what you would like to include, you can read our guide on what to include in a prenup.
How much does it cost?
The cost to create a prenup in the UK can vary depending on where you go to get one. As stated, there are cheap or even free services online, but these may not necessarily stand up if you need to rely on it later. If you choose to use a solicitor, the fees can be anywhere from £1,000 up to £10,000 depending on the complexity of the case and including VAT and expenses.