What is a postnuptial agreement?

Prenuptial Agreements are agreements entered into by a couple before they marry or enter into a civil partnership setting out how they wish for their assets to be divided upon separation. Whilst their use is increasing, as people realise they are not just for the rich and famous, little is known about the ability to enter into such an agreement following a marriage or civil partnership. In this article we explain more about postnuptial agreements.

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What is a postnuptial agreement?

A Postnuptial Agreement is an agreement that is entered into after a marriage or civil partnership and just with a Prenuptial Agreement sets out how various assets should be divided if the relationship were to breakdown. Both are entered into as contracts between the parties.

Why should I get a postnuptial agreement?

A Postnuptial Agreement can be very useful when circumstances within a marriage change, for example when one party has inherited money or property and wishes for that to be dealt with in a specific way.

A Postnuptial Agreement can also be entered into as couples grow to realise they want autonomy in deciding what will happen in respect of their finances in the future, perhaps not realising of the ability to enter into a Prenuptial Agreement prior to the marriage or civil partnership or where there has been a period of separation followed by a reconciliation.

Some other benefits of a Postnuptial Agreement include:

  • Additional peace of mind and certainty about financial futures in case the relationship breaks down including the divisions of pensions.
  • The creation of a record of the assets which have been brought into the marriage by each spouse or civil partner.
  • The ability to protect business assets or income that was owned prior to the relationship or has grown during the course of the relationship.
  • The ability to help protect potential inheritance for children from previous marriages.
  • The ability to deal with property or assets in another jurisdiction.
  • A means of financial planning for you both for the future.

How do I make a postnuptial agreement?

A family solicitor can help you to draft a Postnuptial Agreement, particularly if your financial circumstances are complex.

We always strongly recommend that each person has specialist independent legal advice to protect their position. We regularly work constructively with other law firms to ensure that happens.

Are Postnuptial agreements legally binding?

A Postnuptial Agreement is not strictly legally binding in England and Wales. However, it often limits the risk of dispute upon separation and whilst a court is not obliged to follow the contents of your agreement it will be consideration that is often decisive. Courts will typically implement a Postnuptial Agreement if:

  • the agreement has been freely entered into;
  • both parties intended to be legally bound by the agreement;
  • both parties have a full appreciation of its implications, gained through independent legal advice;
  • there has been no substantial change in circumstances making the agreement unjust;
  • the agreement provides for any dependent children
  • there has been full disclosure of assets, including property, pensions, savings and investments.

What’s included in a postnuptial agreement?

The benefit of a Postnuptial Agreement is that it can include as much or as little as you seek to determine at that time. Typically, a Postnuptial Agreement can consider the following:

  • what will happen to the family home
  • how any other property, particularly that brought into the relationship will be treated
  • what will happen to inheritance received by either party
  • what will happen to jointly owned assets
  • what will happen to pensions
  • who will be responsible for any debts
  • whether there should be any income related orders and if so for how long
  • the future arrangements for any children both financially and practically, for example when they will spend time with either parent and who will be responsible for school fees
  • any arrangements if one party were to die and whether you intend to enter a Will to make provision for the other in the event of death.

How much does a postnup cost?

The cost of a nuptial agreement varies greatly depending on its complexity. To get a better idea for you, you should meet with a lawyer for a consultation.

At Goughs Solicitors, we offer a free 30 minute consultation. Our family lawyers are experts in all aspects of nuptial agreements and will provide specialist advice tailored to you and your circumstances.

When can I get a postnuptial agreement?

A Postnuptial agreement can only be drawn up and signed once your marriage or civil partnership has taken place. Of course, a Prenuptial Agreement can be entered into in advance of that marriage or civil partnership. There is no time limit on making a Postnuptial Agreement, you can do this at any time after you marry.

It is important to review any agreement regularly, particularly if your circumstances have changed.

Can I have a postnuptial agreement if I already have a prenuptial agreement?

Our family lawyers will take the time to explain your options and what should be included in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. The advice is bespoke to you and will depend on yours and your partner’s personal and financial circumstances.

Can Goughs help me with my postnuptial agreement?

Yes! At Goughs, we have the necessary legal expertise to ensure you get the best advice you need specific to your situation and circumstances.

If you are considering a nuptial agreement, or your partner or spouse has proposed the same please contact a member of our Family Team. We’re always happy to help.

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Author Bio

Natasha Miller

I joined Goughs in September 2019 as a Trainee Solicitor. I then qualified as a Family Law Solicitor in September 2021. Since then I have worked on all aspects on family law, developing a particular interest in divorce, finance, cohabitation matters and pre and post nuptial agreements. I am also an LGBTQ+ ambassador and regularly assist members of the LGBTQ+ community with all aspects of family law.

I enjoy working with my clients to achieve the best possible outcome for them. I adopt a conciliatory approach to issues in order to enable me to provide my clients with reasoned and practical advice, without escalating matters unnecessarily.

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