For many happy couples entering into marriage, the prospect of signing a pre-nuptial agreement or pre- partnership agreement is not necessarily the romantic beginning that we typically envisage to a lifetime of marital bliss. However with high rates of divorce facing UK couples, is signing a prenuptial agreement becoming an essential component of modern marriage?

Whilst prenuptial agreements can admittedly seem unromantic and awkward there is no denying that they can lend valuable security to the protection of your assets, offering a safety net to individuals in the unfortunate event of the relationship breaking down. When drafted correctly a prenuptial agreement helps to define the way a couple’s financial assets will be held during and after the marriage.

For couples who possess substantial assets or savings, serious consideration should be given to the benefits of signing a pre-nuptial agreement. Likewise, if you have been previously married or entered into a civil partnership and are in possession of property, drafting a prenuptial agreement will allow you keep this property separate in the instance that you wish to leave it to your children. Even for couples who don’t possess substantial assets, signing a prenuptial agreement can safeguard you financially if your circumstances were suddenly to change.

Some people associate prenuptial agreements with the notion of a lack of trust or doubt between their partner; however this is not the case. If the relationship was to fail a pre-nup can merely help in ensuring both parties receive a fair and reasonable settlement in light of their financial contribution to the marriage. Although there is no guarantee that the agreement will automatically be enforced during divorce proceedings, they are becoming increasingly influential when the courts become involved in deciding what will be allocated to each spouse.

If yourself and your partner are considering a pre-nuptial or pre-partnership agreement there are a number of things you should bear in mind. The agreement should be drafted at least 21 days before the marriage; otherwise the court may be led to believe one party was coerced into signing the agreement due to pressure from the other. Each party must also give full and frank disclosure of their financial position, failure to do so can result in substantial penalties as demonstrated by the case of Thiry v Thiry 2014. Finally, when drafting the agreement each party should receive independent legal advice over the contents; allowing each partner the opportunity to review the clauses in detail before committing to the agreement.

For further information regarding pre-nuptial or pre-partnership agreements please don’t hesitate to contact Farleys Solicitors’ specialist Family Law team on 0845 050 1958, or alternatively please complete our online contact form.