A pre-nuptial agreement is simply an agreement that couples enter into before marriage in which they set out what is going to happen if that marriage breaks down.
A pre-registration agreement is a similar agreement that same sex couples enter into in contemplation of a civil partnership
A post-nuptial agreement is a similar agreement that is entered into after the marriage has taken place.
A party may require such an agreement where they already have assets they wish to protect, or are expecting to accrue or generate large wealth during the relationship, whether from inheritance, investments or earnings.
Such agreements can regulate any number of things about how during the marriage the couple deal with their finances such as, how the parties are going to hold property or assets they have and, whether they are going to have a joint bank account, who is going to contribute what to the account, and who is going to be responsible for the outgoings in respect of the property in which they live.
It can set out what should happen on the breakup of the marriage or civil partnership which might include one party simply vacating the property; buying the other’s interest out or indeed for the property to be sold and as to how the proceeds should be divided, what should happen to any savings or pensions that have accrued and what maintenance should be paid, if any
The important thing is to set out who gets what in the event the relationship breaks down which will reduce conflict at what will already be a difficult time and to avoid incurring large costs in solicitor’s fees in sorting out the finances at that time.
Those who have already acquired wealth should always give thought to the merits of entering into such an agreement before moving someone else in.