Pre and post-nuptial agreements

A prenuptial (or premarital) agreement is a written agreement made by a couple who intend to get married or enter into a civil partnership which specifies the financial settlement which would be made in the event that they divorced or their civil partnership is dissolved.

Prenuptial agreements are quite common and enforceable by the courts in some other jurisdictions such as the USA and some European countries.

However, under English Law, prenuptial agreements are not enforceable by the courts.

Despite this, an increasing number of couples are choosing to enter into prenuptial agreements. These couples want to clarify what would happen if they divorced. Often they wish to agree to exclude assets which are inherited. They feel that a prenuptial agreement is likely to minimise disagreement if they separate.

Such an agreement may be of value in the event of a divorce. The existence of a prenuptial agreement is one of the factors which would be taken into account by the courts.

There are certain specified safeguards which the couple should adopt for the courts to place appropriate weight on the terms of such an agreement. One of the most important of these is that they should each have received independent legal advice before they entered into the agreement.