Pre-Marital Contracts FAQs
I am getting married soon. Should I have a Pre-Marital Contract?
A Pre-Marital Contract is a written agreement made before the marriage which sets out what will happen if you divorce (often known as a “Pre-Nup”).Generally, you should take advice about a Pre-Nup if you have substantial assets and you would like to ring fence these in the event that your marriage breaks down.It would also be appropriate if you have been married before and are bringing property into your subsequent marriage.If there was an international aspect to the marriage or international assets, you may wish to enter into a Pre-Nup which reflects the sort of financial award that might be made in another country or protects assets in another country. Please note that you will be advised to enter into a separate Pre-Nup in the other jurisdictions as well as this one.
What aspects should the Pre-Marital Contract cover?
It will cover all the financial issues that will be raised upon divorce such as maintenance, investments, pensions and what happens to the home. It can cover how outgoings will be divided and how Post-Marital assets will be treated.
Do you both need solicitors in order to have a Pre-Marital Contract?
Yes – this is a Contract and you must both have separate legal advice.
Is the Contract reviewable?
For a Contract to be ultimately persuasive, it must fall within the parameters of an award that a Court would make. It is, therefore, very wise to review the Contract in the event of time passing – five years is a typical period. Also, if there is a significant change in circumstances such as the birth of a child.
In the event of divorce, will the Pre-Marital Contract automatically apply?
The short answer is that, in this country, Pre-Marital Agreements are not binding. This contrasts with Europe where in some countries Pre-Marital Agreements are binding (e.g. Sweden and France). In this country a Pre-Marital Agreement is the factor which will be taken into account in assessing the division of income and assets on divorce. It is a profoundly important factor and the Court may give great weight to such agreements particularly where there have been full disclosure of finances and both parties have had independent legal advice.
How much will it cost?
Fees will be charged on the basis of hours spent and, therefore, it depends upon the complexity of your case and the complexity of your financial arrangements because there must be full disclosure of these. A very straightforward Pre-Marital Contract will cost in the order of £1,000 plus VAT.