Prenups – what do I need to know?

Wedding season is in full swing and with so much romance in the air, why would anyone be thinking about prenups? The topic has been sensationalised by celebrity prenups, or famous cases where such agreements were not in place - such as the divorce of Heather Mills and Paul McCartney. But among the flowers, catering, dress and growing guest list issues on the wedding to do list, it is worth pencilling in prenup, and taking a little time to consider whether this may be something for you.

A prenup, or prenuptial agreement, is a formal, written agreement between two partners prior to their marriage. It sets out clearly how the couples’ finances would be separated in the event of divorce. The intention is to ensure that any litigation would be minimised and the cause for dispute would therefore be limited.

Caroline Fell, Head of Stone King’s Family & Mediation Team, says: “There can be a stigma attached to prenups, mostly because of celebrity cases in the press, and an assumption that these agreements are only for the rich and famous. Naturally in the run up to their wedding, couples tend not to focus on the possibility that their union may not stand the test of time and we would not advocate that all couples should set up a prenuptial agreement. However, in some circumstances, such as second marriages or where children are involved, these agreements can help to set minds at ease.

Where there is a disparity in the wealth of the parties when entering into marriage, or where inherited wealth has been received or is expected, these agreements can be of particular relevance. Equally, if one or both partners have been married before, or have children from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement is a way to provide clarity, should the relationship break down.

Caroline adds: “We would recommend that all couples take the time to have a conversation about prenuptial agreements and decide together whether this is something for them. Sometimes one party may wish to set one up but cannot find the right way or a right time to broach the subject. By adding this conversation to the wedding ‘to do list’ would set both minds at ease.

The law and practice referred to in this article has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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