My fiancé wants me to sign a prenuptial agreement. Should I agree?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract setting out how assets should be divided if the marriage were to break down. An increasing number of couples are entering into these agreements and they are not just for the very wealthy. The main reason for having a prenuptial agreement in place is to protect property or business assets acquired before the marriage, inherited wealth, savings or to ensure financial provision for children from a previous relationship. Without one, the starting point for a division of assets built up during the marriage is equality and assets acquired before the marriage may be taken into account to meet the housing needs of the parties.
Is it legally binding?
Although prenuptial agreements are not strictly legally binding in the UK, they are increasingly being upheld by the courts provided both parties have had independent legal advice, they each have a clear picture of the others financial position, it is signed at least 21 days before the marriage and is entered into freely. The terms of an agreement must be fair to the financially weaker party and the agreement should be reviewed at regular intervals e.g. if you have children or there are changes in assets.
Will I lose out if I am not the main earner?
It may not be an easy conversation to have with your partner, but use this opportunity to have a serious and open discussion about your finances and try to agree on the terms together. Although prenuptial agreements are generally favourable to the wealthier spouse, it can give you certainty going forward and save a lot of stress and legal costs in the event of a divorce. You should start the discussions as early as possible and most importantly seek legal advice so the agreement can be tailored to your particular circumstances.