What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?
Posted on 11th March 2020
When you’re getting married, you may not be thinking about what you would do if you and your future spouse separated or divorced. However, as expert Family Solicitors in Lancaster, we would advise you to consider your assets and what would happen to them if you decided to end your marriage.
One way to protect your assets is with a Prenuptial Agreement.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Commonly referred to as a “prenup”, the Prenuptial Agreement will be entered into by both parties to the proposed marriage, to set out what would happen to their assets and commitments in the event that they separate and divorce.
Prenups generally set out what would happen to any joint assets, assets owned solely by either party, joint and sole liabilities, as well as other future assets, such as inheritance. The reason behind the document is to allow both parties to know where they stand, decreasing the risk of a lengthy and nasty dispute.
When do we need to make a Prenuptial Agreement?
Whilst we often receive enquiries only days before the wedding, Prenuptial Agreements need to be entered into at least 21 days before a wedding takes place, but preferably will be finalised around two months’ prior.
Ideally, our Family Solicitors in Lancaster would advise clients to start the process sooner rather than later. Whether it’s two years or six months until the big day, contact our team now to get the ball rolling.
How do I make a Prenuptial Agreement?
First-things-first: contact our team to make an initial appointment. Both parties should seek independent legal advice. Our Family Solicitors would ask you to bring a list of both your and your future spouse’s assets and liabilities (separated into joint and sole assets/liabilities), as well as details of the agreement reached between you. If you can’t reach an agreement about any particular asset or liability after taking the time to discuss it between you, then you may wish to consider mediation. If agreement can be reached prior to your appointment, then this will help to keep the costs of negotiation to a minimum and prevent any delay in the document being prepared.
The Initial Appointment
We will take your details and review the agreement reached. Our Family Solicitors in Lancaster will also want to discuss the general purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement to ensure that you fully understand them, and any implications. Our team will also need to ensure that the agreement has been reached by both parties in the right way – i.e. without any undue influence from the other, or a third party.
It’s important to note that, whilst the agreement reached in the pre-nup may be entirely what you both want, if you do divorce and fair terms of financial settlement cannot be reached if the prenup is upheld, the Court can take the decision to override the pre-nup, or certain parts of it.
The Next Steps
Both parties will need to provide full and frank disclosure of assets and liabilities to the other. If this is not provided, it could void the agreement.
In the case of Granatino v Radmacher  UKSC 42, whilst the Supreme Court upheld that Prenuptial Agreements would be valid if they were freely entered into, with all the information (i.e. financial) available to both parties, and in the absence of pressure, it also highlighted the fact that husband did not receive full, financial disclosure before the agreement was drawn up. This could, in some cases, give the Court a reason to nullify the Prenup. You can read about the facts of the Granatino case below.
Once everything has been exchanged, agreed and our Family Solicitors in Preston have ensured that you fully understand the document and any implications, we can draft the agreement. This would be sent to your future spouse’s Family Solicitors, for them to approve, and then both parties can sign the final document.
Once signed, the document will be official and ready to be called upon if it’s required in the future.
Granatino v Radmacher  UKSC 42
Katrin Radmacher, a German heiress, and Nicholas Granatino, a French Investment Banker, married in 1998. The couple signed a Prenuptial Agreement, which stated that neither party would benefit financially from the other, if the marriage ended.
Mr Granatino argued that he had not received independent legal advice, and – as the financially weaker party – he was, inevitably, under pressure to sign. Mrs Radmacher argued that the Agreement was valid, and that it had been signed to protect her against any claim.
The Court held that there was no public policy against such agreements and, even if the terms were not what the Court would have ordered in the event of a marital breakdown, they were free to give effect to the agreed terms.
So, are Prenups legally binding?
Although the Court does not have to follow the agreement to the letter, should it choose not to, they will now give heavy-weighting to the terms agreed, following the ground-breaking Granatino case (unless they are considered to be grossly unfair and would cause one party extreme hardship, for example).
How much will a Prenuptial Agreement cost me?
Our Family Solicitors in Preston offer Prenuptial Agreements at a fixed-fee of £1,500.00 plus VAT (£1,800.00).
Whilst this may seem like a lot, there’s a lot of work involved with ensuring that a Prenuptial Agreement is fully reflective of both parties’ wishes, as well as making sure that, as far as possible, the Court would take into account the Agreement if the parties separate, including:
• Initial appointment to take your instructions
• Consideration of all the financial documents disclosed by both parties
• Liaising with your intended spouse’s Family Solicitors
• Preparation of the Agreement, and all the Annexes (Supporting/Additional Sheets)
• Obtaining signature of the document
• Any additional appointments, phone calls and correspondence with you, and third parties
There can be a substantial amount of time involved with the process of drafting a Prenuptial Agreement: however, our Family Solicitors in Preston charge you a reasonable fixed-fee to ensure that you know where you stand from the start of your matter.
How do I arrange an initial appointment?
Contact our team today, at your local office, use our online contact form, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our web-chat facility – our team will be happy to help!
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