How do Prenuptial Agreements work in Northern Ireland?
With celebrity couples like Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz signing prenups before marrying,
Google searches for “what is a prenup?” have risen by 456%.
Prenuptial Agreements are not just for wealthy celebrities, they are the most practical means of protecting your financial future. They are becoming more and more common with couples thinking about marriage, as are Postnuptial Agreements for securing assets once married.
With Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements on the increase, Director Ciara Brolly answers the most commonly asked questions about these Agreements and how they work for couples in Northern Ireland. Ciara also outlines what you should include and the key elements to consider with the process.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A Prenuptial Agreement is a written contract entered into by a couple prior to marriage to set out what will happen to the parties’ respective assets should the marriage break down.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is relevant for people who are already married but they seek to protect their assets. They can also be used when a couple have previously entered into a prenuptial agreement before marriage and seek to confirm the terms.
Are Prenups legally binding in Northern Ireland?
That’s one of the top questions we get asked.
Prenuptial agreements are not legally binding in this jurisdiction, however they do carry more weight in court, and ever increasingly so, since the judgement in the Supreme Court case of Radmacher v Granatino.
What are the benefits of having a Pre / Post Nuptial Agreement in place?
These types of agreements are the best way to protect assets and indeed business partners. They offer clarity and certainty to couples from the offset because the division of assets has already been agreed thereby reducing acrimony in divorce. In turn, this can save money in legal costs.
What should my partner and I include in our Prenuptial Agreement?
- Property held in your sole name and joint names
- Business interests
Are there any items that should not be included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
These agreements tend to cover a wide range of issues but some issues that should not be included are non-financial rules, anything illegal or any unfair or unreasonable terms or indeed divorce incentives.
What makes a Pre/Postnuptial Agreement invalid?
A prenup or postnup can be deemed invalid if either party has not had the benefit of legal advice or if the parties’ have not disclosed one another’s assets to each other. It is important that each party is acting of their own free will and they are not being coerced; this is why it is advisable to sign the agreement at least one month prior to the marriage. Agreements can also be deemed invalid if they include unreasonable or unfair terms that perhaps do not meet the needs of the other party.
What are the first steps in setting up a Prenuptial Agreement?
The first step is to consult a solicitor. Both parties need to have independent legal advice before signing the agreement.
The key things to consider in the first instance are:
- What assets do you have?
- What assets does your partner have?
- What financial needs would you have if you were to separate
- Do you have any children?
- If so, what are their current and likely future needs?