Joanna Pratt, Head of Family at Thomson Snell & Passmore, explains how they work

A prenuptial – or premarital – agreement is a written contract a couple enter into prior to their marriage, to set out their intentions as to how assets, debts, income and inheritances will be divided if they separate or divorce. 

Whilst prenuptial agreements cannot override the discretion of the Court to consider financial matters upon divorce, judges take the terms of these agreements into account, as evidence of the intentions of both parties about what should happen if the marriage breaks down. 

Indeed, judges often decide it is appropriate to uphold the provisions of a prenuptial agreement, provided that certain court guidelines have been followed when the agreement is being prepared.

We continue to see a rise in the popularity of prenuptial agreements, and there are a range of circumstances where they can be particularly useful, including: 

•    To protect assets which you have acquired before getting married

•    To ring fence an inheritance, both already received and future inheritances 

•    To provide certainty and avoid conflict if the relationship ends

•    To protect specific assets, such as a business

It is worth noting that the validity and enforceability of prenuptial agreements will depend upon various factors, including the document being signed in good time before a wedding, with both parties having made full and frank disclosure of their financial position and the agreement meeting the needs of both parties and any children. It is essential that both parties have taken independent legal advice before signing a prenuptial agreement.

For more information, see


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