Prenuptial agreements may sound like a great idea before getting married – if you and your intended are both of the same mindset.
You’ve probably heard a lot about prenuptial agreements – also known as premarital agreements and marriage contracts – from various celebrity engagements and divorces.
But are they legally binding? And are they something that ordinary folks really go ahead with?
What You Need to Know About Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements are becoming more popular. A recent study of US family lawyers found that 62% of respondents reported a rise in the number of clients asking for these contracts.
Although divorce is becoming less common – particularly among young people – couples are becoming increasingly aware of failed marriages. With social media, we are now able to keep in touch with virtually everyone we’ve ever known.
This means we can see the major milestones in our acquaintances’ lives, including marriage and – in some cases – divorce. Increasing awareness of divorce can be enough to encourage people to explore the prospect of a prenuptial agreement.
Also adding to the rise in the popularity of these arrangements is the fact more families are blending at later stages in life. So people with kids from previous relationships will want to ensure they’re well provided for in the event of a later divorce – and any resulting split in assets.
Are prenuptial agreements legally binding?
There are a number of regions in the world where prenuptial agreements are not legally binding, including England and Wales. But this doesn’t mean that it won’t be enforceable in court. Most courts will take these agreements into consideration when they decide how assets are split during a divorce.
This is especially true if you and your partner consulted a lawyer when putting it together. In fact, there is a strong chance that your agreement will be invalidated if a qualified and specialist family lawyer does not write it.
Courts generally want to ensure that prenuptial agreements are fair. So it’s important to ensure that this is the approach you take if you decide to enter into one.
Making them stick
Give yourself the best chance of having your prenup upheld by getting a lawyer’s help right from the start. You should also make sure that both parties are completely upfront and honest about their financial situations. If either of you has kept anything from the other, there is the chance a court will overrule the document.
Timing is also important. If your agreement was signed less than a month before your wedding, it may not be enforced in court. So to ensure you can get the best result for you, check with a lawyer before proceeding.
When it comes to lawyers, both parties entering into a contract like a prenuptial agreement should ensure they each have their own representation looking after their own interests. This will help ensure the agreement is not one-sided and does not favor one member of the couple.