If You Are Getting Married

A prenuptial agreement is a written contract signed before you get married. It is designed to protect your premarital assets, including any property or savings. To be sure of getting it right, you need expert legal advice.

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The Short of it

  • Prenups aren’t just for celebrities –

    if you want to protect your assets you should consider getting one.

  • Most prenuptial agreements are designed to protect specific assets

    from future financial provision on divorce.

  • Hopefully your prenuptial agreement will never be needed. But if things do go wrong,

    it’s worth having the clarity and certainty it can provide.

  • Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need

    and providing Straightforward legal advice. It should be that simple.

  • The Long of it

    Prenuptial agreement

    What is a prenuptial agreement?

    If you’re getting married, the last thing on your mind will be worrying about what happens if you split up. There’s so much planning to do –  why add a prenuptial agreement to your to-do list? And it’s hardly the most romantic discussion to have with your intended.

    Sadly, however, you may still find yourself divorcing further down the line. If this happens, a prenuptial agreement will give you certainty about how specified assets are treated – cold comfort perhaps but it can make divorce proceedings less fraught.

    When we say assets, we mean things like pensions, pre-marital savings and property bought before you got married. You don’t have to be worth millions for these to be worth protecting from your spouse’s divorce lawyer in ten years’ time.

    And if this is a second marriage, you may want to make sure the assets you have amassed will pass to your children from the first marriage and not your new spouse if you separate. (That’s why we recommend a review of your succession planning, too.)

    Most prenuptial agreements will ring-fence assets from future financial provision on divorce. This normally covers not just the premarital assets themselves, but anything you acquire using them during the marriage – for example, you might sell an investment property to buy another. If you don’t have a prenup, you can still try to exclude this asset in divorce negotiations, but this can be complicated and there’s no guarantee of success. If it’s covered in the agreement, you both know where you stand – and it costs less in legal fees to sort this now rather than arguing about it later.

    While the Scottish courts do tend to enforce prenuptial agreements, in some limited cases there may be an argument that yours should not be followed. If you are in this position, we can evaluate this for you. If we are the ones doing your agreement, we will take steps to protect it against challenge, such as asking your partner to take separate legal advice before signing and allowing enough time for them to do so. This also means the earlier we speak to you about this, the better!

    We hope that once you sign your prenuptial agreement, it will simply go in your desk drawer and never need to be taken out again. But if things do go wrong, it’s worth having the clarity and certainty an agreement can provide.

    Do I need a prenuptial agreement?

    Who needs a prenuptial agreement?

    If you’re getting married, the last thing on your mind will be worrying about what happens if you split up. There’s so much planning to do, why add a prenuptial agreement to your to-do list? And it’s hardly the most romantic discussion to have with your intended.

    If you have built up any kind of asset before getting married, you should consider a prenuptial agreement – it’s not just for millionaire celebrities.

    For example, you may already own your own home and have no plans to sell. Or if this is a second marriage, you may have pension rights or investments that you want to preserve for the children of your first marriage to inherit.

    If you do nothing with these assets during the marriage, then your spouse would not normally have a claim on them. Where things get more complicated is if you sell the asset and use it to buy something while you’re married, for example if you sell your first flat and use the proceeds towards a new family home. If you then get divorced you can argue that you should get your original investment back, but that isn’t guaranteed. If you have a prenuptial agreement which says your spouse can’t touch that money, you’re on far steadier ground.

    Why a prenuptial agreement?

    Why are prenuptial agreements a good idea?

    Most prenuptial agreements will ring-fence assets from future financial provision on divorce. This normally covers not just the premarital assets themselves, but anything you acquire using them during the marriage – for example, you might sell an investment property to buy another.

    If you don’t have a prenup, you can still try to exclude this asset in divorce negotiations, but this can be complicated and there’s no guarantee of success. If it’s covered in the agreement, you both know where you stand – and it costs less in legal fees to sort this now rather than arguing about it later.

    Why Watermans?

    Why choose Watermans for your prenuptial agreement?

    At Watermans, we have over thirty years experience in the legal sector. We’re experts in family law and we know our stuff – but we’re also normal people you can have a real conversation with. We don’t use legal jargon (or Latin), we give straightforward advice, and we won’t judge or patronise you.

    We know how important it is to trust your lawyer and that you need to know we’re in your corner. Our aim is to work in partnership with you to help resolve things quickly and cost-effectively so you can move forward with your life.

    Get in touch with us

    Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need and making that process straightforward. Start the process by sending us your details below or calling us on 0131 555 7055

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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