A Pre-Nuptial Agreement is a written contract between a couple in contemplation of their marriage. This document usually incorporates the financial responsibilities of each party, should there be a divorce in the future. Currently, in most circumstances, if two people marry, any assets accumulated during their marriage are taken into account if the parties separate. The law also states how the assets are to be divided if one spouse dies without a Will. A Pre-Nuptial Agreement however enables couples to decide themselves how their assets are to be divided upon separation or death.
Pre-Nuptial Agreements are commonly used when one or both parties have accumulated assets before marriage and they want those assets to be treated differently to any assets acquired during the marriage. Couples who are entering into a second marriage also frequently enter into Pre-Nuptial Agreements especially when they each have adult children from their previous relationships. By entering into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement the parties can ensure that they each retain any assets they have already acquired or in the case of second marriages, ensure the assets are left to their respective families upon death, should that be their wish.
It is essential that a Pre-Nuptial Agreement is drafted as soon as possible and at least three months before the marriage. It is imperative that both parties have the benefit of independent legal advice before entering into such a contract to ensure they fully understand the future implications.