Are you considering entering into a prenup? If so, this article, written by Ramsden Family Law, Lawyer Natalie Stenzel, unpacks the changing perceptions of prenuptial agreements in modern marriages and highlights their importance in asset protection and financial clarity for parties about to get married.

Prenuptial Agreements

In the twenty-first century, the concept of marriage has evolved and modernised. Decades ago, people would marry young and build wealth together – typically adhering to traditional gender roles. Now, people are getting married later in life, if at all, and bring their own assets and financial resources into the relationship. As a result, the importance of protecting these assets has become a key consideration. A prenuptial Agreement is one of the most effective tools for asset protection in marriage. Commonly referred to as a “prenup” in Australia, they are called Binding Financial Agreements. These Agreements, often surrounded by misconceptions and stigma, play a crucial role in modern marriage, offering a clear financial stability and asset protection framework.

Understanding Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract entered into by a couple before marriage. It outlines the ownership of their respective separate assets, liabilities, and financial resources and their joint assets and liabilities (if any) and specifies how they will be divided in the event of separation.

Prenups can cover various issues, including property division, debt allocation and spousal support. It is legally required that both parties obtain independent legal advice before entering into these Agreements. In the event of separation, the provisions in the Agreement will apply, meaning parties can avoid lengthy negotiations and court proceedings. However, that is not to say that these Agreements cannot be contested or set aside by the Court, and it is essential to remember that these Agreements are not infallible or guaranteed to be upheld by the Court.

The Rise of Prenuptial Agreements

We have seen an increase in prenuptial Agreements recently, which can be attributed to various shifts in society, including:

  • People Getting Married at a Later Age: Many people choosing to marry later in life, mean that by the time they marry, they have accumulated their own personal assets, such as property, superannuation entitlements, and financial resources. A prenup can help protect these assets so that in the event of a separation from your partner, you retain these assets and do not have to divide or sell them. It is imperative in circumstances where both parties to the marriage have achieved financial independence and there is a greater need for both partners to protect their respective financial interests.
  • Increased Divorce Rates: Divorce rates have increased, and many people wish to safeguard their assets against the potential uncertainties of separation and divorce. There is no guarantee as to the outcome of a property settlement, especially if your matter is before the Court.
  • Second Marriages: Parties entering into second marriages often have their own assets and financial resources. Having already been married once, they understand the stress, expense, and difficulty of a property settlement. These people may also have children from their previous relationship and wish to ensure that their assets are preserved for them to inherit.

Benefits of Prenuptial Agreements

There are many benefits of prenuptial Agreement, which can be summarised as follows:

  • Clarity and Transparency: Prenups promote open discussions about finances, ensuring both parties are fully aware of each other’s financial circumstances and resources. This transparency can prevent future disputes and foster trust.
  • Protection of Assets: By clearly defining ownership of assets, prenups can protect you from losing significant portions of your wealth in a property settlement. This is particularly important for those parties with substantial premarital assets or those expecting large inheritances.
  • Shielding From One Parties Debt/s: Prenups can protect one partner from the other’s debts, ensuring that personal or business financial liabilities do not become a shared burden. The protected party is then indemnified against anyone attempting to go after that debt.
  • Reduced Conflict: In a divorce, a prenup can reduce animosity and conflict by providing a clear, predetermined plan for asset division. In some cases, prenuptial Agreements are reviewed on a specified anniversary, for example, upon the fifth anniversary of the date of the Agreement or in the event you have children. This ensures that the Agreement remains relevant to your and your partner’s current circumstances.

Addressing the Stigma

Despite their benefits, prenuptial Agreements are often viewed with suspicion and considered “unromantic” or unnecessary. Some might perceive them as a sign of distrust or a predictor of divorce. This perspective is gradually changing as more people recognise the practical benefits of prenups.

To mitigate negative perceptions, parties must approach the subject of prenups as a partnership strategy rather than a sign of impending failure. Framing the discussion around mutual protection and the preservation of hard-earned individual property can help normalise the concept. Ultimately, a prenuptial Agreement is a tool for parties to use to assist them in preparing for the future in the event of separation. It does not foreshadow separation but provides each party with reassurance and clarity.

Legal Considerations

For a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, certain legal conditions must be met, including:

  • Voluntary Agreement: Both parties must enter into the agreement willingly, without coercion or duress.
  • Full and Frank Disclosure: Full and frank disclosure of each party’s financial situation must be disclosed. Failure to comply with disclosure may result in the Agreement being set aside by the Court.
  • Fair and Reasonable Terms: The Agreement must be fair and reasonable at the time of execution and implementation.
  • Independent Legal Advice: Each party is required to obtain independent legal advice to ensure their individual interests are adequately protected. In Australia, you cannot enter into a Financial Agreement if you do not have independent legal advice. This advice is critical and will assist you in understanding the overall effect of the Agreement. Your solicitor will also be able to negotiate terms of your behalf to strengthen your position.
  • Proper Execution: The Agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties (and often a witness) and their respective legal representatives.


In the modern marriage landscape, prenuptial agreements are essential tools for asset protection and financial clarity. While they may not seem romantic, they represent a pragmatic approach to marriage, emphasising transparency, fairness, and security. By recognising the practical benefits of a prenup, parties can embrace prenups as a means to strengthen their partnership and ensure a stable financial future, regardless of what the future holds.


If you are considering whether a prenuptial agreement is suitable for you or require independent legal advice to help you prepare or review an Agreement, please consult our experienced family law specialists at Ramsden Family Law. We can provide you with the necessary legal support and guidance to protect your best interests during this time.

Our team of dedicated family law specialists brings extensive experience to the table.

The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance to the subject matter and must not be relied on as legal advice. Specific advice should be sought about your circumstances.