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I’m thinking of entering into a pre-nuptial agreement. Will the courts enforce them?

Contrary to popular opinion, pre-nuptial agreements, or pre-nups, are actually enforceable in the United Kingdom, provided they are entered into correctly.

Just like any other kind of legal contract a pre-nuptial agreement must be drawn up properly and following UK contract law. This is why it’s so important for both parties to get independent advice from their solicitors before entering into such an agreement. A specialist solicitor should draft your pre-nuptial agreement to give it the best chance possible of being adopted by the courts and make sure your provisions do not fall into any of the pitfalls which could cause them to conflict with existing law, such as ensuring the post nuptial agreement has future flexibility.

A pre-nuptial agreement is particularly useful if, for example, you are a high net worth individual or someone entering a second marriage later in life who would like to keep your money separate from the shared property and wealth in your marriage. If, in the unfortunate situation of the relationship breaking down, you don’t have a pre-nuptial agreement, you risk all of your wealth being split 50-50 between yourself and your spouse.

Another useful aspect of a pre-nuptial agreement would surface if you had children from a previous relationship and would like to make sure a “pot” of money is protected for them if your relationship with your new spouse breaks down.

As long as the agreement is still fair when the courts enforce it, both you and your partner obtained independent legal advice and you both fully disclosed your finances then it should be upheld by a court.

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