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.
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.
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:
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.”