Postnuptial Agreement Solicitors – Family Law Partners

Postnuptial agreements

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Postnuptial agreement solicitors

A post-nuptial agreement is a contract signed after a marriage, setting out what should happen in the event the marriage doesn’t work.

Postnuptial Agreements

A post-nuptial agreement is a contract signed after a marriage, setting out what should happen in the event the marriage breaks down.

It is likely that you will have seen prenuptial agreements featuring in films or read about them in novels. And yet many people are unaware that you can have a postnuptial agreement or other forms of agreements after a relationship have begun or after it ends.

  • Postnuptial agreements have increasingly been given more weight and consideration by the courts.
  • The Supreme Court have recently said that, subject to certain requirements being met, pre and postnuptial agreements should bind parties unless it would not be fair to uphold the agreement. The same approach is likely to apply to post-nuptial agreements
  • Postnuptial agreements are likely to be upheld by the Courts as long as they are deemed to be fair and do not prejudice the reasonable requirements of any children of the marriage.

Different types of Postnuptial Agreements

There are a number of post-relationship agreements (commonly referred to as a ‘postnup’) that our clients enter into:

  • A postnuptial agreement is an agreement between parties who are in a marriage or civil partnership. The relationship may be very happy but the parties decide that they would like to organise their financial relationship with each other in the event that the relationship subsequently breaks down.
  • A cohabitation agreement (sometimes called a Living Together Agreement) is available for people who have not married or entered into a civil partnership but nonetheless recognise, perhaps after years of living together, that their relationship would benefit from being clear about their respective capital interests and responsibility for living expenses.
  • Declarations of Trust in respect of property holdings which can be stand alone or used alongside postnuptial agreements or cohabitation agreements.

Why should I consider a Postnuptial Agreement?

  • For various reasons, you may have missed the opportunity to obtain a prenuptial agreement before the commencement of the marriage or civil partnership;
  • When you want to protect pre-acquired assets or wealth;
  • To manage the risks, costs and uncertainty of relationships breaking down;
  • To minimise the risk of arguments in court if the relationship were to break down and reduce the potential for unpredictable outcomes;
  • If you have been in a previous relationship or where there are children from previous relationships to consider;
  • To meet the requirements of relatives or trustees of family trusts;
  • You may have already obtained a pre-nuptial agreement but decide to have a postnuptial agreement (the ‘belt and braces’ approach) or to vary by agreement the terms of your earlier prenuptial (perhaps to address the birth of children);
  • You would like to address a discrete issue that may arise, for example, how an investment in a business should be treated or what should happen to an inheritance.
  • You want to identify the resources to be called upon if challenging issues arise in the relationship, for example, a referral to see a family therapist, or to attend mediation.
  • For peace of mind.

A cohabitation agreement might be appropriate for you for all the same reasons listed above for postnuptial agreements. Additionally, the relevant law used to determine disputes between cohabitants in relation to the property they own, or an interest claimed in solely owned property, is complex and very expensive to litigate.

How our postnuptial agreement solicitors can help you to avoid needless conflict

We prefer to facilitate post-relationship agreements using the collaborative law model if possible so there can be honest and open discussions, and likely agreements can be reality checked. The collaborative model can be an ideal forum to ensure the discussions are transparent, open and focused, thereby avoiding any feeling of mistrust. Our team of family specialists will advise you on the most appropriate route to negotiating a postnuptial agreement.

We will discuss with you whether you may benefit from the involvement of a family consultant to manage the emotional challenges of negotiating such agreements and ensure your hopefully happy and long-lasting relationship starts with strong emotional foundations.

Contact our friendly, professional postnuptial agreement solicitors

If you would like an appointment with one of our specialists in Brighton, London, Horsham, Kent, Essex, North Hampshire & Surrey or South/Mid Hampshire then please contact us on 0330 055 2234.

Postnuptial agreement FAQs

What is a postnuptial agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a legal agreement made between a couple that are already legally married or in a civil partnership.

Essentially, it helps couples establish ‘what’s yours, what’s mine, and what’s ours’ in the event of a marriage or civil partnership breakdown.

This agreement can cover various aspects such as property division, financial assets, spousal maintenance, and inheritance rights.

Although not automatically legally binding, courts consider these agreements and may enforce them if they are deemed fair and have been entered into freely by both parties, with a full understanding of their implications and without undue pressure.

How to get a postnuptial agreement?

A specialist postnuptial agreement lawyer will help you establish what to include in the agreement.

This typically involves the division of assets such as property, investments and pensions in the event of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

Instructing a specialist postnuptial solicitor is the best way of ensuring that the agreement protects your best interests in the long term and includes everything it needs in order for the agreement to be considered legally binding.

Their expertise guarantees a robust and legally binding agreement that can be recognised in the eyes of the court should the relationship break down.

Their expertise guarantees a robust and legally binding agreement that can be recognised in the eyes of the court should the relationship break down.

How to write a postnuptial agreement?

The following steps can be followed to help you write a postnuptial agreement:

  • Consultation: Both parties should seek legal advice to understand their rights and obligations.
  • Full Disclosure: Disclose all assets, liabilities, and financial information honestly to ensure transparency.
  • Terms and Conditions: Outline how assets and debts will be divided in case of divorce or separation. Include provisions for property, spousal support, and any other relevant matters.
  • Independent Legal Advice: Each party should have their own solicitor to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Drafting: Lawyers will prepare the agreement based on discussions, ensuring legal validity and fairness.
  • Signing: Both parties sign in the presence of witnesses and their solicitors.
  • Review: Update the agreement periodically to reflect changing circumstances.

How much does a postnuptial agreement cost?

A postnuptial agreement is a bespoke legal document that should always be drawn up by a specialist in postnuptial law.

The cost of producing one can vary and will likely depend on the complexity of the document. However, it is normally possible to agree a fixed fee.

The cost of a postnuptial agreement can vary widely depending on factors such as the complexity of the agreement, legal fees, and the location of the legal service.

It’s recommended to consult with legal professionals to get a precise estimate tailored to your specific situation.

Is a postnuptial agreement legally binding?

Whilst postnuptial agreements are not formerly binding in England and Wales (unlike many other European countries, including Scotland) they are likely to be upheld if they are drawn up properly and meet the required criteria.

This is another important reason to use a specialist postnuptial solicitor. Their expertise ensures adherence to drafting standards, maximising the agreement’s validity and enforceability.

Despite lacking formal grounding, a well-crafted postnup can substantially influence any decisions made in court, which is why it’s important to seek legal guidance to protect your interests and assets.

Despite lacking formal grounding, a well-crafted postnup can substantially influence any decisions made in court, which is why it’s important to seek legal guidance to protect your interests and assets.

What’s the difference between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement?

In the simplest terms, a prenuptial agreement is put together before a couple is legally married (or has entered into a civil partnership) and postnuptial agreement is put together any time after a couple gets married.

The timing is the key distinction: a prenuptial agreement is made in anticipation of marriage, aiming to outline asset distribution in case of separation, whereas a postnup agreement is established after marriage, often to address evolving financial circumstances or to formalise arrangements that were not initially addressed.

Both agreements require thorough legal consultation to ensure their enforceability and alignment with the individual circumstances of each relationship.

How long after marriage can you get a postnuptial agreement?

There is no specific time limit to create a postnuptial agreement after marriage.

Couples can establish a post marital agreement at any point during their marriage.

These agreements outline how assets and finances would be divided in the event of divorce or separation.

However, it’s advisable to create the agreement well in advance of any potential disputes or separation, to ensure that both parties have ample time to understand and agree upon the terms.

It’s also recommended to seek legal counsel when drafting a postnuptial agreement to ensure its validity and fairness.

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