Prenups: Just for Celebrities?

It’s been a difficult few years for Britney Spears, but, finally free from her conservatorship, the pop princess was legally able to marry her long-term boyfriend – actor and model Sam Asghari. Married at their home in California, the ceremony was attended by Hollywood royalty, with the big day kept secret until social media was set alight with pictures and videos of the celebrations.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the wedding was whether the couple were going to sign a prenuptial agreement to protect Britney’s assets and fortune. According to news reports, Britney and Sam have signed an “ironclad” prenup, which means that if things don’t work out between the couple, she will retain her assets, and Sam his.

Many people think that only celebrities need prenuptial agreements, but this is not the case. Anyone who has acquired assets prior to marriage should consider taking legal advice on a prenup.

Hopefully, Britney and Sam’s prenup document will be put in a drawer and forgotten about, and the same will go for yours when you get married – but you never know what the future might hold.

Our Family Law team at Watermans have compiled some information about prenuptial agreements, and why they are important for all couples – not just Britney and Sam.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenup details how specific assets – whether they’re property, pensions, savings, or anything else of value – you have each acquired prior to the marriage will be treated in any subsequent divorce. Usually, the aim is to exclude them entirely from any financial claims made by your spouse if you split up.

What if I sell or transfer those assets during the marriage?

Usually this would mean that your spouse would have a claim in divorce on the value of the new asset you acquire, for example, if you sold a flat bought before marriage to buy a new family home with your spouse.

The crucial point about a prenup is that it can be used to ring-fence not just the premarital asset, but anything you later acquire by using that asset as funding. While a court might reach the same decision, having an agreement gives you both clarity and certainty – and saves the cost of litigation if things do go wrong.

What if we’re not getting married but moving in together?

A pre-cohabitation agreement is also worth considering if you plan to live together. While cohabitants have fewer legal rights than married couples – no matter how long you’ve lived together – if one of you is putting in a larger deposit on a property, for example, an agreement is the best way to ensure you get all your money back if the relationship ends.

What if this is my second marriage?

If you have children from your first marriage, having a prenup in place can be a way to protect property and assets that you would prefer to go to them rather than to your new spouse in the event of a divorce.

In this scenario it’s even more important for your prenup to go hand in hand with your succession and tax planning arrangements, so if you are in this position our private client team also recommend that you review your Will, so that your succession planning is up to date. Careful planning can avoid “sideways inheritance” on your death and ensure that your assets are protected for your loved ones.

Nobody wants to think about going through divorce a second time, but it will be much easier to deal with, legally and emotionally, if you have planned ahead. And if things change, it’s usually easy enough to update the agreement without starting all over again.

Why should I choose Watermans?

Our Family Law team at Watermans are experts in their field and offer straightforward legal advice tailored to everyone’s individual situation.

Hopefully, you will never need to take your prenup out of the desk drawer, but having one in place reduces any added legal costs and stress further down the line.

To speak to one of our team, call us on 0131 555 7055, or fill out the contact form below.

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Our Family Law expert

“People often say to me that family law must be a depressing job – but I’ve never felt that. What we do makes a difference. I love working with my clients to understand their stories, help them work out where they want to get to, and collaborate with them to achieve their goals. Seeing people come through it and embark on a new stage of their lives is a great feeling.”

Dianne Millen, Head of Family Law