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Pre-Nuptial Agreements – are they legal?

pre nuptial agreement

There is a common misunderstanding that if two people enter into a pre-nuptial agreement setting out the basis of any financial settlement in the event that their marriage or civil partnership later breaks down, this is legally binding on the parties who entered into it.

THIS IS NOT TRUE

In fact, it is the Courts that have complete discretion on financial awards which means they have the authority to make any settlement they think fit and in the best interests of both parties. So any contractual document which tries to lay down the financial terms cannot be valid – and if they are not valid they are not enforceable in the UK.

Pre-Nups have increased dramatically in their popularity and this has forced the Courts to consider their legality as they are under an obligation to consider the conduct of the parties and it is at this point that they will include Pre-Nuptial Agreements and the circumstances that surround them as a consideration. Relevant factors included in their considerations will be whether there are children involved, was there full financial disclosure and did both parties take separate and independent legal advice? If the answer to any of these is no, then a Pre-Nup is likely to have less weight in the proceedings.

Although there is a trend towards recognising Pre-Nups, until the UK laws change to recognise them and therefore make them valid and enforceable, it is wise to treat Pre-Nuptial Agreements with caution.

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