Many couples now marry or re-marry later in life, meaning they often have significant savings, property and other assets they want to protect, both for themselves and for any children from previous relationships. Some couples wish to address pre-marital wealth from inheritance for example. Pre-nuptial agreements are therefore an increasingly popular option for couples from a wide range of backgrounds.
A pre-nuptial agreement (or ‘pre-nup’) will outline how specific items, such as property, vehicles and business and financial assets are to be dealt with should the relationship end in divorce. They can also cover issues such as custody and support for children.
However, to be considered by a Judge, your pre-nup must be prepared the right way with the proper process followed and all of the right legal details considered. It is therefore essential to take specialist legal advice from a family lawyer with experience handling pre-nuptial agreements.
At Pickering & Butters, our family lawyers are highly skilled in advising clients on all aspects of pre-nuptial agreements, including drafting and reviewing pre-nups, negotiating terms of pre-nups and advising on their use during divorce proceedings.
We can also advise you on the creation of post-nuptial agreements if you are already married and cohabitation agreements if you are living with your partner or plan to live together without getting married.
Our goal is to help you get peace of mind that your long-term financial security is protected, while minimising the potential for any future conflict if your relationship does not work out.
To speak to our friendly, expert family lawyers about a pre-nuptial agreement, please contact your local Pickering & Butters office in Stafford or Rugeley – or feel free to email us.
How we can help you with pre-nuptial agreements
Drafting pre-nuptial agreements
We can guide you through the whole process of creating a pre-nup, including making sure all of the likely issues and points of potential conflict that could arise on divorce have been considered and accounted for.
Reviewing pre-nuptial agreements
If you have been asked to sign a pre-nup by your future spouse, we can review the terms of the agreement for you and advise you on whether we think they are reasonable or whether they could compromise your long-term interests.
Negotiating terms of pre-nuptial agreements
Our family lawyers can represent either party during pre-nuptial negotiations, helping you to reach an agreement that is fair for both partners. We can advise on issues such as disclosure of assets, the right of either party to stay in the shared home following a separation and all other key issues that need to be covered.
Advising on the use of pre-nuptial agreements during divorce
If you are going through a divorce or are considering divorce, we can review any pre-nuptial agreement you have in place and offer advice on whether it is likely to be considered applicable by a judge or whether there may be room to negotiate an alternative settlement.
Common questions about pre-nuptial agreements
Are pre-nuptial agreements legally binding?
Pre-nups are not currently binding under English law, but they will generally be considered by a Judge during divorce proceedings if the agreement has been prepared in the right way which must be considered procedurally correct and fair.
For a pre-nuptial agreement to be considered procedurally correct and fair the following is important:
- The agreement should be fair to both parties
- Both parties should have made full disclosure of their assets before entering into the agreement
- Neither party was under pressure to sign
- There has been no major change of circumstances since the agreement was signed e.g. having children together
- Both parties received independent legal advice before signing
- The agreement should normally have been signed at least three weeks before your wedding
Can I refuse to sign a pre-nup?
Yes, you should not be pressured to sign a pre-nuptial agreement. If you feel you were pressured into signing a pre-nup, you should seek immediate legal advice as the agreement is likely to be invalid. This is especially important if you are planning to divorce your spouse.
How long is a pre-nuptial agreement valid for?
Pre-nuptial agreements do not expire after a certain period of time, but they could be considered no longer valid if either party has had a significant change of circumstances that is not covered by the existing agreement.
Common examples include where you have had children, bought a new home or other property, started a business or received a substantial inheritance.
Can you get a pre-nup after marriage?
If you are already married, you can create a post-nuptial agreement which gives the same protections as a pre-nuptial agreement but can be made at any time following your wedding. Post-nups are often used where there has been a change of circumstances, such as you have bought a new home, had children or one of you has received an inheritance.
Can you get a pre-nup if you’re not getting married?
If you want the same kind of protection offered by a pre-nup but you aren’t planning on getting married, a cohabitation agreement can be a good idea. It allows you to set out how your assets would be divided if you separate, what would happen to your shared home and arrangements for your children, as well as how any other key issues would be dealt with.
How much does it cost to get a pre-nuptial agreement?
The fees for creating a pre-nup will depend on the circumstances, including how complicated the agreement is and whether negotiations are needed with your future spouse and their legal representatives to reach an agreement.
For creating or reviewing straightforward pre-nuptial agreements, we can often agree a fixed fee in advance, giving you certainty over the cost involved.
For more complex matters, we will generally work to a pre-agreed hourly rate, only charging you for the time we spend dealing with your pre-nup. This allows us to give you exactly as much or as little help as you require to achieve a positive outcome.
Why choose Pickering & Butters’ family lawyers for your pre-nuptial agreement?
Our Staffordshire family lawyers have decades of experience supporting individuals and couples with all of the legal issues connected to marriage and relationships. We have the expertise and friendly, people-focused approach to protect your interests while keeping conflict to a minimum.
We have strong experience with pre-nuptial agreements for clients from all backgrounds, including medium and high net worth individuals and couples. Our attention to detail and exceptional personal service mean we can offer you the very best support to make dealing with all areas of family law as easy as possible.
Pickering & Butters is Lexcel accredited by the Law Society, recognising our high standards of practice management and client care. We are independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), providing assurance that we continually meet the highest legal and professional standards.
Get in touch with our pre-nuptial agreement solicitors in Stafford and Rugeley
Need help creating a pre-nuptial agreement or reviewing a prenup you’ve been asked to sign? Our friendly expert family lawyers in Staffordshire can help.