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Wedding Season is here. The venue, the dress, the cake, the flowers and…a pre-nup?!

The summer months especially bring the joy and celebrations for many couples tying the knot. Whilst the wedding ceremony brings with it of course the commitment of marriage, or a civil partnership, being married also means certain legal protections and obligations are put in place. In particular, if a married couple later divorce, the law largely dictates how the property, assets, pensions, income etc. is divided between the couple.

Whilst preparing for a wedding is often very busy, one matter which is often overlooked is considering whether a pre-nuptial agreement should be put in place.

What is a pre-nup and is it worth bothering?

A pre-nuptial agreement can set out what would happen to the couple’s assets and income should they later divorce or separate. In recent years the law has changed such that the current legal thinking is that a properly drafted pre-nuptial agreement is more or less binding. There are certain legal criteria to fulfil with a properly drafted nuptial agreement to help give it maximum weight.

Why have a pre-nup?

Typical scenarios where nuptial agreements are particularly worth considering are as follows:

  • on second or third marriages where one or both of the couple wish to protect their assets from their first marriage / divorce, with the aim of protecting their wealth for any children from their previous marriage;
  • one or both of the couple has significant inheritance prospects, or wishes to protect inheritance already received;
  • there are business assets to protect;
  • there is a family farm to protect; and/or
  • there are family heirlooms to protect.

What if we are already married or in a civil partnership?

If you have already walked down the aisle, perhaps having run out of time to put in place a pre-nuptial agreement before the big day or even years after being first wed, you can enter into a post-nuptial agreement. Legally, post-nuptial agreements are treated in exactly the same way as pre-nuptial agreements.

Take-away message

Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are not just for celebrities and are worth considering. If you would like any help or advice regarding nuptial agreements or another family law matter, including family mediation and the collaborative process, please contact Sarah French on 01962 841484 or