Pre-nuptial agreements – The basics

31 March 2021

A pre-nuptial agreement is a formal agreement made by a couple before they marry concerning the respective ownership of their assets should the marriage fail. Division of assets and capital on divorce or separation is a subject which worries many couples and is one which needs some careful thought before a marriage is entered into.

Pre-Nuptial agreements are not currently legally binding; however, they are increasingly being recognised and taken into account by the Courts on divorce.

For a Pre-Nuptial agreement to be upheld, the following basic principles need to be adhered to:

  1. Both parties should receive independent legal advice about the agreement;
  2. Both parties must enter into the agreement of their own free will and not under duress or pressure of any kind;
  3. The agreement must be fair;
  4. There has been no significant change in the parties lives which would make the agreement unfair;
  5. Full and frank disclosure of each parties finances must be entered into before the agreement is drawn up; and
  6. The agreement must be entered into at least 6 weeks before the marriage takes place.

It is therefore important that legal advice is obtained, prior to entering into such agreements. If an agreement is entered into against legal advice or without legal advice then this could have significant implications should the marriage later fail. Each agreement must be fair and this brings with it an additional obligation that each agreement should be reviewed regularly to ensure that any changes in the parties’ circumstances do not affect the overall perceived fairness of the agreement. An example of such a change in circumstance could be the fact that the parties decide to have children after entering into a pre-nuptial agreement.

Marriage is a big commitment and pre-nuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular with couples wanting to protect their individual assets that they have prior to getting married or any assets that they may obtain and/or inherit during the marriage. In order to keep yourself protected, legal advice should always be sought prior to entering into pre-nuptial agreements.

At Le Gallais & Luce we have specialist expertise in advising clients on pre-nuptial agreements. We also understand that legal costs can be a worry and therefore we are able to offer some fixed fee services and payment plans which enable all of our clients to be kept aware of their costs from the initial point of instruction. If you do wish to discuss pre-nuptial agreements or any aspect of family law, please call Advocate Matthew Godden on 760710 or email