A prenuptial agreement (Prenup) is a document which is signed before a marriage to set out soon-to-be married couple’s rights in relation to any property, debts, income and other assets purchased individually or together or that they have bought into their relationship if the relationship ends. The main purpose of writing a Prenup is to limit the potential claims on the wealth of one party to the marriage.
Prenup is entered to provide a measure of certainty and the means of protecting pre-marriage assets, inheritance and existing family commitments such as children from a previous marriage. Legally, once the marriage is officially registered and solemnized, all these assets become matrimonial assets.
Briefly, a Prenuptial Agreement can help: –
The usual questions that may pop up in a fiancé’s mind: –
When you marry, your assets become ‘matrimonial assets’ and, unless specifically protected can be considered for division between you within divorce proceedings. The main purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement is to limit the potential claims on the assets of one of the parties to the marriage and avoid costly litigation over “who gets what”.
At present, Singapore Courts do recognise Prenuptial Agreement (written overseas or in Singapore) to a certain extent and will take the agreement reached between the spouses seriously. This is so as a Prenuptial Agreement is evidence of your intentions to record terms entered into between the spouses as one of the factors that a court may consider when looking at all the circumstances of your case.
However, it is to note that the courts do not see a Prenuptial Agreement as carrying the same weight as a Court order thus will not ‘automatically’ be upheld or enforced by Singapore Court in the event of a divorce and/or dispute. The judges will refer back to section 112 of the Women’s Charter on the factors to consider when dividing the matrimonial assets of the parties in a ‘just and equitable’ manner; and section 114 of the Women’s Charter when considering ordering spousal and child maintenance and will not blindly follow whichever is written in the Prenuptial Agreement.
We say that you may even represent yourself for a murder trial. However, it is in our view this course of action is not wise and no costs saving to speak of. Drafting a Prenuptial Agreement requires skills and knowledge of law which means the agreement is prepared in a particular way to close as many potential legal loopholes. Moreover, there are many more considerations that needs to be taken into account if you are to prepare a binding Prenuptial Agreement.