A pre-nuptial agreement is a signed agreement entered into by both parties prior to getting married. Such an agreement should be considered where one or both parties have significant assets that they wish to protect in the event of the relationship ending. The agreement can also take into account future events such as children.
Pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in England and Wales but they are something that the court will take into account. A pre-nuptial agreement is most likely to be upheld by the court if the agreement was:
• Fair at the time it was entered into and also at the time of the divorce.
• Both parties had obtained separate and independent legal advice
• Both parties had fully disclosed their assets and property
• The agreement was signed a reasonable time before the marriage (so as to reduce any suggestion that anyone was pressured into the agreement)
A pre-nuptial agreement should be reviewed periodically throughout the marriage, particularly when changes occur such as an inheritance or the birth of a child.
It is also possible to enter into an agreement after the marriage has taken place. These agreements are known as post-nuptial agreements. The same factors apply to these agreements as they do to pre-nuptial agreements.