Most people, whether married or not, will be familiar with a prenuptial agreement, or at least the concept of the document being signed before marriage. But a postnuptial agreement is usually less well-known, especially as one can be created and signed at any time after the wedding but not beforehand.
Working similarly to a prenup, a postnup agreement can help protect your assets and secure them for the future. As postnuptial agreement solicitors, Osbourne Pinner can help you plan a legally binding document and advise you on every aspect of the process.
A postnuptial agreement, also known as a postmarital agreement or postnup, is a document drawn up and agreed upon by a couple any time after marriage. Postnuptial agreements are used the same way as prenuptial agreements, but prenups are a more typical arrangement.
Like a prenup, postnuptial agreements will address the same complex issues, including how any property, assets, and finances will be split if the marriage or civil partnership breaks down and ends in divorce or separation. They can also include special child arrangement orders for spousal or child support alongside the more divisions of specific business interests or other complex financial assets.
In some cases, postnups will also include preparations for the ongoing care and support of children from previous relationships or arrangements for dividing assets following the death of one spouse. Whatever your requirements are, experienced divorce solicitors typically create postnuptial agreements, and both parties sign them after they’re married.
Like prenups, people often opt for a postnuptial agreement in case of divorce, with many agreements focusing on finances and assets. But they can also be written if your marriage is in difficulty or you have concerns about how the marriage is working. If you’re wondering if you should have a postnuptial agreement in place, here are some reasons why it might be worth thinking about:
If you expect to inherit significant wealth during your marriage from a relative or friend, a postnup can help ensure you can claim all of it if the marriage breaks down irrevocably.
If you get married, and you and your partner have children from previous marriages, a postnup can specify the share of assets your spouse will receive after divorce, separation, or death. It also ensures your children get what you want them to have.
Having a postnup in place will also protect any income or assets you earn during your marriage. This protection can be helpful if you own and build a successful business and ensures your ex can’t claim a large percentage of the business earnings.
As a prenup is often seen as a sign that the marriage may not last, you and your spouse may well have dismissed the idea of having one. But once you’re married, it’s OK to change your mind and set up a postnup instead.
Like a prenup, postnuptial agreements aren’t legally binding in the UK in case of a divorce. But they can be decisive and enforceable by a court if there’s any kind of dispute. Things that can make the postnup more likely to be binding, though not legally, may include whether:
If a postnuptial agreement is agreed on this basis, the court may consider the terms in a divorce or separation. But, because a postnup is not legally binding, a court also has the discretion to override the agreement if it’s not considered fair or reasonable.
We should note that postnuptial agreements aren’t usually enforceable in the UK in cases where children are involved. The court will always ensure the welfare and interests of any child before deciding on any financial arrangements or child arrangement orders in a divorce case.
If you’re contemplating a postnuptial agreement, ideally, it’s best to work with your spouse to list all your assets beforehand. You can then decide how these things should be divided if you divorce while agreeing on certain things before drawing up your official postnup agreement. Other things to consider can include:
To give you complete peace of mind when drawing up a postnuptial agreement, it’s a process that only experienced divorce solicitors like Osbourne Pinner should carry out.
Depending on different factors, it can take several weeks to several months to prepare a postnuptial agreement and complete the process. These factors can include how complex the agreement is, what both parties want and don’t want to be included, the level of negotiation required, and the speed at which each party’s solicitors act.
A postnuptial agreement can only be created during your marriage, but it can be decided and drawn up at any time. It’s common for this to happen when there are significant changes, good or bad, during your marriage.
When you and your spouse have agreed on having a prenuptial agreement, after seeking independent legal advice and collating all financial documents and information, you’ll need an experienced divorce solicitor to get your prenup legally drawn up. Every instance can vary, but most postnup agreements will follow a similar process as this:
Your solicitor will draft the prenup with your requirements, considering your financial situation and any other specific concerns or requests you have.
Once a draft postnup agreement has been devised, you and your spouse should review it independently before coming together to review and discuss any changes or amendments you might need. Your solicitors can help with this process so that the final draft is correct and agreed upon by both parties.
Once you and your spouse have concluded mutually agreeable terms, the agreement should be signed by both of you in the presence of independent witnesses. Once complete, you’ll keep a copy of the agreement for your records.
Our legal team will advise you on this process and is experienced in drafting a wide range of postnups, from multi-million-pound agreements with complex assets to smaller agreements that cover property, finances, and child inheritance. To help you, Osbourne Pinner offers a competitive fee for the preparation of your postnuptial agreement and the accompanying schedule of assets, including:
A postnuptial agreement can cover many different issues but will usually focus on money, including assets and debts and current and expected income and finances surrounding business. Because Osbourne Pinner is an expert divorce solicitor, our legal team will always advise and direct you on what’s acceptable or necessary to include in your postnup, which can include:
A prenuptial agreement should cover any property, including the family home and any second homes, and how it will be divided.
Any current and expected future income can be accounted for in any prenup agreement, alongside any life, medical, or disability insurances.
Your postnuptial agreement will detail all current assets and debts and how outstanding debts will be divided and paid.
Any income that comes as an expected gift or inheritance as part of a Will can be included in your postnup agreement.
Alongside your personal belongings, a postnup can also cover joint belongings and how they’ll be divided in the event of divorce.
What a postnup can’t do is influence the interests of any of your children. If, or when, you have children, it’s usual to make provisions for a review of the postnup agreement. This process helps to ensure their requirements can be evaluated at the time, with any necessary changes made to meet the parents’ expectations, such as a potential child arrangement order.
In any divorce, if the court is required to arbitrate on financial agreements, their first consideration will be any children. If the court considers any arrangement between the adults might affect their children, such as any that could limit their lifestyle in any way, it might think it unfair to maintain the agreement. Neither party can opt out of providing financial support to or for a child.
In 2010 the Supreme Court gave the following guidance: “The court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless, in the circumstances prevailing, it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement.”
Like a prenup, creating a postnuptial agreement can be similarly complicated, requiring negotiations and understanding between both parties. If a postnup is right for you and your spouse, getting the process underway during your marriage ensures the agreement is done correctly – and our legal team can help you.
Because Osbourne Pinner are professional divorce solicitors, our team are experts in advising, drafting, and negotiating postnuptial agreements in the UK. Working with couples on postnup agreements of all sizes, including high net worth divorce clients, we’ll advise you on all your options, get the postnup that works for both of you, and ensure ongoing agreement reviews.
For more information on postnuptial agreements in the UK, contact us now by calling 0203 983 5080, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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