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Planning a wedding? When to put a pre-nuptial agreement in place

03 July 2024

As lots of couples look to tie the knot over the spring and summer months, it is often a popular time to approach solicitors about putting a pre-nuptial agreement in place.

If you’re planning a wedding and thinking about a pre-nuptial agreement, it’s important to consider that it should be signed at least 28 days before a marriage ceremony takes place. This timescale helps to ensure that neither party has been pressurised or unduly influenced by the other to enter into the agreement shortly before the wedding.

Signing the pre-nuptial agreement is the final stage of the process. Beforehand, a family lawyer will need to obtain detailed information about the parties, any children, their property and finances and what they wish to achieve by having the agreement in place.

The first draft of the document can then be prepared and circulated for both parties and their lawyers to negotiate, complete the financial disclosure schedules and finalise its terms.

If the couple has not already discussed and agreed these issues between them before instructing lawyers, then negotiations can take some time to conclude.

It’s important not to rush the process or treat it as a minor detail to be ticked off the wedding to do list. For this reason, we recommend starting the process of putting a pre-nuptial agreement in place three to six months prior to the date of the wedding.

However, if you approach a family lawyer about a pre-nuptial agreement too close to the wedding date, all is not lost. In these circumstances, we would advise both parties to enter into a post-nuptial agreement in the exact same terms to ratify the pre-nuptial agreement that has been signed within 28 days of the wedding.

Of course, there is risk that the financially weaker party may decide not to sign a post-nuptial agreement leaving a potential argument of undue influence open should the agreement be challenged in future years. If this is the case, uncomfortable conversations may well ensue. It is much better to think and plan ahead, and be realistic about the time needed for agreements like this to be properly considered and completed.

For more information on putting a pre-nuptial agreement in place, please get in touch with our family team who will be happy to assist you. You can also take a look at our complete guide to putting a pre-nuptial agreement in place.

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Disclaimer: All legal information is correct at the time of publication but please be aware that laws may change over time. This article contains general legal information but should not be relied upon as legal advice. Please seek professional legal advice about your specific situation - contact us; we’d be delighted to help.
Kristie Silsby LLB (Hons)
Associate, solicitor
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