Pre-nups might seem unromantic, but are they important to have?
Of course, we would never enter into a marriage without thinking it was going to last forever, but do you need a safety net just in case? We take a look at prenuptial agreements, what they are, who they’re for, what the advantages are of having one and what you can do if you’re already married.
What is a prenup?
A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a prenup, is a contractual document you enter into with your partner before you get married. This document will usually set out who is responsible for what in the relationship. This could include who pays what bills, and also defines who owns individual assets and what proportion of each.
Should I have a prenup?
Many are still under the impression that prenups are only for the wealthy who have a lot of assets to protect. However, everyone should at least consider them before getting married. If you plan on buying property together, having shared savings or making a large joint purchase, such as a car, then it is important to state who is the owner in case the marriage was to ever break down.
What are the benefits of having a prenup?
Having a prenup in place gives you reassurance that if your relationship was to end, what was yours going into the relationship, remains yours if you parted ways. It can also make provisions for any discrepancy in wealth as you progress in your career or inherit property. We hope you never have to rely on your prenup, but it is a comfort to know that it is there just in case.
Three reasons to have a prenup
Assets – Having who brought each asset into the marriage listed in a prenup will prevent any arguing if you end up divorcing in the future and will give you both peace of mind that you will not be worse off after a divorce than you were before you were married.
Inherited property – If you inherited a property, or if it is likely that you will inherit a property, then you can have it written into your prenuptial agreement that the property will remain with the individual who inherited it should you divorce.
Dividing debt – Splitting up your debts (if you have any) is a great idea as it removes any responsibility you could have towards helping to pay them off if you were to separate.
I’m already married and don’t have a prenup, what can I do?
If you are already married, then don’t worry. You can still document who owns the assets in your marriage and what percentage of them in a very similar way to a prenup. You will need to get a postnuptial agreement instead. This can be applied for anytime after you are married.
You and your spouse will need to discuss what you would like to include in your agreement and, if the marriage was to ever breakdown, how any individual and shared assets would be divided. Although the agreements are not legally binding, as long as specific conditions are met, the courts will usually take these agreements into consideration when attempting to resolve disputes between couples.
How can I find out more information?
For more information, please contact our specialist legal professionals on 0800 614 722 or visit our local office.