When it comes to the legalities of marriage, it's important to be fully informed – before you say 'We Do'. Johnson Legal Family Law explain everything you should know about pre-nups

Most parts of wedding planning is all romance and excitement, from thinking about decorations to going dress shopping. But there are also some legal things you’ll need to think about before you tie the knot.

As well as all of the on-the-day details, there are lots of rules and legalities around getting married that you’ll need to consider when planning your wedding. And as fun as it is to think about colour schemes and cake designs, remember that the celebration includes a legal commitment to your partner.

While the legal side of marriage may seem a bit daunting, Scottish Family Law firm Johnson Legal Family Law were more than happy to explain to us all about what a Prenuptial Agreement (pre-nup) actually is and how to get one.

What is a pre-nup?

First things first, what actually is a pre-nup? The family law firm defined it as: “A formal, legal contract between you and your future spouse, in which you both set out your intentions in the event of a divorce or separation.”

The document outlines financial arrangements as well as anything else that would need to be divided, such as custody of shared pets or other assets, if a couple were to split up.

What does a pre-nup include?

Beverley Johnson, Head of Family Law and Director of Johnson Legal Family Law, explains: “A pre-nup allows you both to have the opportunity to establish what you expect in terms of your financial positions in the future, such as sharing existing personal assets and debts, or keeping them separate.”

Why should you get a prenuptial agreement?

Obviously, you enter into a marriage with the intention of being together for the rest of your lives. But it’s better to be prepared and have a discussion about what you want to happen, just in case you spilt up.

“Given the fundamental legal changes saying “I do” can have, drafting a pre-nup could save you a lot of money and stress in the future,” Beverley says.

“If you have children from a previous relationship or if you have inheritance money that you want to put towards a joint asset like a family home, a pre-nup is particularly important.”

The lawyers of Johnson Legal Family Law

What are the benefits of a pre-nup in the UK?

Although it’s not nice to think about your relationship ending, you’ll be able to have a much more rational conversation about these things now, rather than in the midst of a divorce. Should it come to that, having a plan outlined already will help reduce conflict in the process.

Beverley adds: “Having a well-drafted agreement should allow you and your partner to quickly resolve common legal issues and avoid costly court costs.”

When should I get a pre-nup?

A prenuptial agreement is created and signed before the wedding, but you can also get postnuptial agreements which are signed after.

Johnson Legal Family Law advise that most solicitors require at least 3-4 weeks to complete an agreement. So, if your wedding date is almost upon us, you might want to book an appointment with a solicitor soon.

How do you bring up the conversation with your partner?

It’s important for you and your partner to be on the same page before entering into a marriage. If one of you is unsure about whether you need a pre-nup, why not take some time to research it together and seek out advice from a solicitor so you know exactly what’s involved?

Beverley reassures couples: “Signing a pre-nup before getting married is sometimes considered pessimistic, unromantic or implies that you don’t trust your partner, however, this is not actually the case.

“In a strong relationship, you can talk to each other about anything and have uncomfortable conversations. No one has a crystal ball, so consider taking some advice before you get married to protect you both in the future.”

How do I get a pre-nup?

If you’ve decided to get a prenuptial agreement, you’ll need to speak to a family lawyer to draw up the legal documentation. They’ll also be able to answer any questions you may have about pre-nups.

To start the process, Beverley explains that most solicitors offer a free consultation call before you set up a first meeting with them.

Do you need a prenuptial agreement?

Legally you don’t require a prenuptial agreement to get married. But given that a marriage is a legal contract, it is a good idea to have a fair and reliable agreement in place that details financial and other important aspects of your relationship.

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