To many people the idea of following the words “will you marry me?” with “will you also sign a prenuptial agreement?” is not a romantic or ideal way to start their married life. However Prenuptial Agreements or ‘Prenups’ have become an important factor in preparing for married life these days.
A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract that is entered into before the date of marriage. The contract records the agreement between the future spouses as to how they will divide their money and property should their marriage end in divorce.
A Prenuptial Agreement encourages people to discuss their finances before they are married and can help resolve financial issues before the marriage has started. They are a good way of protecting family assets or property acquired before marriage. Additionally, such agreements can include provision for children of the marriage or even previous relationships, providing such provisions are fair.
Prenuptial agreements can also save time and costs in the event of a divorce by avoiding Court proceedings.
Prenups are often associated with the celebrity lifestyles of the rich and famous due to the resulting media coverage of their divorces. However in today’s world, this is not the case. It can be said that there are an ever increasing amount of agreements being made by ‘ordinary’ people who simply want to help prevent costly, lengthy and sometimes hostile battles in Court when their marriages come to an end. As divorce rates continue to rise in England and Wales, the concept of a prenup is one that should be considered.
Many people do not understand how a Prenuptial Agreement works or how to enter into one. Both parties to the marriage should seek independent legal advice so that the implications of entering into a prenup can be outlined. There should also be full and frank financial disclosure made by each person before the agreement can be finalised. It is extremely important that a prenup is entered into freely and without any misrepresentation by any party and crucially without any pressure applied by one on the other. Finally, there has to be an intention by both parties for the agreement to be binding in the event of separation.
Due to a popular school of thinking that Prenuptial Agreements were not binding and therefore not worth the paper they were written on, many people dismissed the idea of having such an agreement. However following the leading case of Radmacher v Granatino  UKSC,  2 FLR 1900 the Supreme Court established that Courts in England and Wales must have regard to any pre nuptial agreement if the marriage later fails.
Therefore, providing that Prenuptial Agreements are entered into properly in the event of a marriage failing, the terms of any prenup have to be considered by a Court and the terms of a prenup are given considerably more weight than they have been historically and are a useful indicator of the couples intentions as they entered into marriage.