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Prenuptial Agreements


Put simply, a prenuptial agreement or ‘prenup’ is a contract between you and your future husband or wife that sets out clearly what happens to your assets if you get divorced. The idea of a prenup makes many of us uncomfortable. Thinking about the end of a relationship when married life hasn’t even begun can be perceived as unromantic or unduly negative. But as specialist family and divorce solicitors we’ve seen many cases where the absence of a prenup overcomplicates asset division when a couple does decide to separate. It’s important to know that if you marry without a prenup the general law about asset division on divorce will apply. It can be even more essential to have a prenup if one or both of you is a foreign citizen or has property in another country. In that case – as then as well as English law – another country’s legal system may have to be considered. This requires solicitors with expertise in international law. We have lots of experience with international prenups. When needed, we work regularly with lawyers from other countries to make sure that prenup will be effective there.

Therefore, we strongly encourage couples to think seriously about making an agreement like this before they get married. It’s important to remember that prenuptial agreements are generally upheld by courts (provided the conditions listed below are met), so they are an important way to protect assets acquired before marriage.

For advice on prenups or other aspects of family law call us on 020 7993 7173 or 07875 337350. You can also contact us online.

How To Make A Prenup Work

A Prenup is a contract. It is binding on the parties who signed it. A court will view it as showing the intention of the parties and it can be very difficult to later argue that its terms should not be applied, provided all the requirements are met and the Prenup has been drafted correctly:

  • Comprehensive exchange of financial information – A prenup should only be signed once each side is fully aware of the assets the other has. This is to make sure that neither party will be able to say that something was hidden from them. We will make sure that this exchange of information is carried out in the best way so that such an argument cannot be made later.
  • Independent legal advice for each side – To ensure that each party understands the implications of the agreement
  • The prenup agreement taken as a whole should promote fairness between the parties in financial matters. The court in a case of a divorce will look at whether following the agreement is fair to the parties. This has to be considered fully at the time of writing the Prenup, so there won’t be arguments about it later.
  • Neither side can try to override the general law through the agreement (for example by suggesting that they won’t be liable for future child maintenance)
  • A prenup should be signed freely. If there are allegations that one side applied pressure on the other to sign the agreement they will be scrutinised carefully by any court asked to examine it.

Can I Get An International Prenup?

With an increasingly international and mobile workforce, it’s not unusual for prenups to have a global dimension. At Glaser Jones Law we have a diverse international client base. This makes us acutely aware of the unique considerations involved when making an international prenup.

Although you may be UK resident now you may move abroad and live overseas during your marriage. Or you may have family connections and property abroad. In cases like this we take care to ensure that your prenup is compatible with the laws of any country you may have connections with or where you might foreseeably base yourself in future.

Different jurisdictions approach prenups differently. In the US prenups are widely used and recognised. It’s estimated that around 50% of couples in America have some kind of prenuptial agreement. In many European countries such as France, couples are required to follow the Civil Code and elect to apply a certain type of property regime to their assets when they get married. And in Israel prenuptial agreements are generally enforceable but must be witnessed by a notary or marriage registrar or authorised by the family or rabbinical court.

Of course plans change and life takes unexpected turns. You won’t aways be able to foresee which country’s law your prenup should be consistent with. This is one reason why it’s sensible to regularly review your prenuptial – or ‘post nuptial’ agreement’ if the review takes place after your marriage.

What Should A Prenup Cover?

A prenuptial agreement should deal with the following:

  • How to divide asset value (money, property, pension funds, investments)
  • What will happen to your house – who will be entitled to live where?
  • The duration and extent of any ongoing payments such as maintenance. Here a well-drafted agreement will outline what meeting the future financial needs of each party might look like
  • The amount of any maintenance to be paid to the children – although this must at least meet the statutory levels of maintenance
  • What happens to inherited assets on divorce
  • Which country divorce proceedings should take place in if one spouse holds citizenship in another country

Other issues may need to be included – every prenup is a written to suit the couple. We will make sure that nothing is overlooked. Writing a prenup requires care and experience – individual words in it can change your financial position. When we draft an agreement we always make sure that the current position of our client is taken into account, as well as wishes for the future. We believe that a good agreement can help a client to be relaxed about the future; and drafting with care and precision will achieve that.

Reviewing Your Prenup – Postnuptial Agreements

We suggest reviewing your prenuptial agreement over time if there is a significant change in your circumstances (for instance, following the birth of a child) so that it remains fit for purpose. If you review your agreement after marriage, it will be known as a ‘postnuptial agreement’. As far as the courts are concerned there is no significant difference between both types of nuptial agreement.

Can I Get Out Of A Prenup?

If the requirements for a valid prenup aren’t met then it’s always open to one party to try and extricate themselves from the agreement and ask the court to divide assets in a way that’s more advantageous to them.

For example, if assets aren’t fully disclosed or one party don’t fully understand the importance of the agreement because they didn’t get proper advice then that party may succeed in getting out of the agreement and asking a court to make alternative financial provision.

It may also be possible to argue that you were forced to sign the agreement. Such an argument will be stronger if you can show that there was a very short period between signing the agreement and marriage.

Finally, if a prenup has been structured in the best way, it shouldn’t be possible for a party to argue that the agreement as signed is insufficient to meet financial needs generally and that the prenup provision should be reassessed.


Prenuptial agreements aren’t just appropriate for couples with a high level of wealth or complex assets (although they have particular relevance). They are for everyone who wants to plan for the future. In fact, quite a lot of the time couples in the beginning of life together don’t have much but with time finances change. So it’s worth considering your future financial position calmly and rationally before you get married so that you can avoid unnecessary legal disputes in the future – if something should go wrong.

We therefore create documents which would be individually suitable to your situation taking all under account. We’ll try to minimise any anxiety that the process might create.

For advice on prenups and other aspects of family law call us on 020 7993 7173 or 07875 337350. You can also contact us online.

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We can advise you on your rights when separating from a partner with whom you cohabit but aren’t married, assisting you with any mediation that may be necessary.

Prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements

We can help you allocate ownership of your assets before your marriage as a safeguard for the future.

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If your Order is from a court in a different country, please see Enforcement of International Child Arrangements Orders

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