Prenuptial and Postnupial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements are a popular tool for people who want to protect their wealth or assets and are signed prior to getting married or entering a civil partnership. It outlines how assets will be divided in the case of a divorce or dissolution.

Prenuptial agreements, also known as Pre-Nups, are entered into by a couple before marriage with a view to determining what should happen to their income and assets in the event that they divorce or their civil partnership is dissolved. Such agreements are increasingly used by couples who want to clarify what would happen if they divorced. Often, they wish to agree to exclude assets which are inherited or bringing into the marriage. They feel that a prenuptial agreement is likely to minimise disagreement if they separate. 

Whilst there is no specific time frame for signing the pre-nuptial agreement, ideally it should be entered into at least 2-3 months before any wedding in order to give time for both parties to reflect on the agreement, seek independent legal advice and to negotiate and agree the terms. This way the Courts can be satisfied that neither party had been forced into signing the agreement without having proper consideration of the contents and also having taken the appropriate legal advice before signing the same.

However, under English Law, prenuptial agreements are still not enforceable by the Courts but there has been a recent change in judicial thinking with more Judges now prepared to consider that a fair and reasonable prenuptial agreement signed in the right circumstances, should potentially be upheld. This means that although they are not enforceable in UK law, the Court will now take any such prenuptial agreement into account when making its final decision as to how matrimonial assets should be divided.

Postnuptial agreements

Postnuptial agreements are similar to prenuptial agreements, but as the name suggests, is signed after a couple has married or entered a civil partnership. Technically, neither prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are legally binding, but Courts will uphold these agreements, if parties can prove certain conditions, such as having received legal advice, there was no coercion, there was full financial disclosure and other conditions. Because of this, it is important that you receive expert legal advice prior to drawing up or signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Couples can also enter into a Post-Nuptial Agreement – these are similar to a Pre-Nup but is drawn up after the marriage.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, our Family lawyers can draft a bespoke agreement to suit your specific circumstances. We understand that prenups are a sensitive issue for the parties involved. Our approach is to deal with the delicate issues in a sensitive and constructive way.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, our Family lawyers can draft a bespoke agreement to suit your specific circumstances.

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