What is a post-nup and why are they increasing in popularity

We’ve all probably heard of a pre-nuptial agreement, but what about the lesser-known post-nup? What exactly is it and why are more people looking to write them?

Post-nuptial agreements, or “post-nups”, are something we are seeing clients increasingly asking for. Just like its well-known relative, the pre-nuptial agreement, the post-nup spells out how a couple’s assets are distributed in the event of divorce or death. The only difference is that the post-nup is undertaken at any time after the marriage has occurred. Other than that, post-nups are very much like their pre-nup counterparts; they aren’t legally binding, but they do carry weight in British courts, providing they have been signed by both parties – with the right legal advice of course.

When you need a post-nup?
In a 2015 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, half of divorce lawyers cited an increase in spouses seeking post-nuptial agreements during the past three years. They were typically adopted by High Net Worth Individuals struggling to keep their marriages together. It seems that the trend has arrived on our shores, but for slightly different reasons.

The reason the UK is seeing an increase in post-nups, is due to the growing number of international Ultra High Net Worth Individuals – defined as those with more than $30m in liquid assets – moving to London with their families. What is the harm in that you may think? Well, thanks to English law’s favourable attitude towards the non-wealth-creating spouse, London has become the “divorce capital of the world”. It is thought the number of divorces concerning Ultra High Net Worth Individuals in the UK is in the hundreds of millions.

Wising up
The result of this mass divorce outbreak is the post-nup. Wealthy people looking to minimise risk in their marriages are increasingly insisting on formal marital agreements with their spouses before moving here. This would seemingly be to protect their assets and minimise any risk should their partner issue divorce proceedings.

But it is not just the wealthy, Ultra High Net Worths writing pre-nups. Others include high earning bread-winners, who took a career break to look after children, therefore unable to return to the high-flying careers they had before. Despite putting the most into the marriage financially, they may feel as though, in the event of a divorce, they are entitled to their share .It may even be those trying to protect inherited wealth.

Raising the profile
Despite the rise in popularity of the post-nup, it still remains as a relatively unknown legal document. The truth is, there are many reasons why someone may opt for a post-nup, or indeed a pre-nup, but they should always be carried out alongside the right legal advice. If you would like some further information on pre- or post-nups, contact Downs Solicitors to see how we can help.

Floris Shoebridge

Floris Shoebridge

Associate Solicitor

Tel: +44 (0) 1306 502236

Office: Dorking Office

Email: f.shoebridge@downslaw.co.uk