As we gradually emerge from the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and hopefully begin to enjoy something approaching normality, the traditional rhythms of family life will begin to impose themselves again. As that happens, the family law experts at Higgins Miller are ready and waiting to stand by the side of our clients. We specialise in dealing with issues such as divorce, adoption and wills and probate, so we’re used to guiding people through some of the most emotional episodes life can throw at them. Now that people can begin to think about the weddings they’ve had to keep delaying, the question of how to get a prenup is likely to be one which increasing numbers of couples find themselves asking.
How to get a prenup – short for prenuptial agreement – is a question which, until relatively recently, might have been asked only by the very wealthy. In 2021, however, more and more couples getting married are likely to be wondering about how to get a prenup for a variety of reasons. Some of these are firmly entrenched social factors, such as the rise in the number of people getting married for a second or even third time and bringing with them assets that they wish to protect for children from a previous marriage. Another common factor is likely to be the rising property market, and the fact that someone entering into a marriage who already owns a property might want to protect an increasingly valuable asset from the possibility of the marriage breaking down. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic lockdowns which it forced on the UK have led to many people either losing their job entirely or having to switch to a new type of employment. The impact of this is likely to be a shift in the financial balance of many relationships, with couples who may previously have been equally balanced in terms of earnings now finding themselves far more reliant on one partner or the other. In a situation such as this, the creation of a prenup can provide long term reassurance for the partner with more to lose in the event of a breakup. This may seem like a fatalistic view to take, but as family law experts we know full well how stressful post-break-up disputes over property and other assets can be, and finding out how to get a prenup is a positive means of hopefully avoiding that kind of stress.
The first and most important answer to the question of how to get a prenup is to seek the expert advice of the kind offered by the experts at Higgins Miller. Although prenups aren’t, strictly speaking, legally enforceable, they are likely to be taken into account by any court attempting to decide a fair post-divorce settlement. This will only be the case, however, if the prenup in question has been drawn up properly and meets all legal requirements, and that’s why finding out how to get a prenup is so important.
The first step toward learning how to get a prenup is to understand exactly what one is. Put simply, a prenup is an agreement which sets out what rights each partner has to assets such as income and property as well as the responsibility for debts in the event of the marriage breaking down. The aspects to include when thinking about how to get a prenup include the following:
- The family home – the prenup could set out how exactly the family home will be divided in the event of a divorce.
- Debts – the prenup could be used to limit the liability of each spouse in the event of the other building up substantial debts prior to any divorce.
- Property – in addition to the family home, the prenup could deal with what will happen to any property which each spouse owns before the marriage.
- Children – either spouse could have children from a previous relationship, and the prenup could deal with what rights to property or assets these children will have in the event of a divorce.
- Money – the prenup could establish how money belonging to one or both of the parties will be divided. This could cover money in joint or separate accounts, as well as investments and savings.
- Inheritance – this part of a prenup will cover the question of any assets that one spouse inherits or is gifted during the course of the marriage, as well as anything gained from a trust.
This is a fairly simplified description of the kind of things that might be included in a prenup, and the list will vary in length and complexity from relationship to relationship. That’s just one reason why consulting experts on exactly how to get a prenup will ensure that it includes all of the details it ought to. Another aspect that has to be considered is exactly how long the prenup will apply. In some cases, this isn’t stated, which means that the terms of the prenup are agreed to for as long as the marriage lasts. In other cases, a time limit of a period such as 10 years is set, or a clause is inserted into the prenup which states that it should be reviewed periodically. This is a wise step to take since, in a lengthy marriage, the financial position of either spouse could shift, and if this shift is significant it could lead to a court, post-divorce, deciding that the provisions of the prenup no longer apply.
Coming to Higgins Miller to find out how to get a prenup means also being clear on aspects of the process such as the timing, the witnesses who need to sign it and the full financial disclosure which is needed if the prenup is to be fair and effective. If you want to find out more about how to get a prenup please call us on 0161 429 7251 or email us at [email protected] We’ve recently passed our Cyber Essential accreditation, something which demonstrates our forward-thinking attitude and determination to remain ahead of the competition. The first 20-minute appraisal is provided free of charge, and we’ll give you the first appointment for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about how much our advice is going to cost. If you want to explore our wider charging system then please take a look here.