Post-nuptial agreements are becoming more popular in the UK, but what exactly are they and do you need one?
A post-nuptial agreement (also known as a post-nup) sets out exactly how assets should be distributed between you and your partner should your marriage break down. It is a written contract that is signed by a couple during their marriage.
Post-Nuptial agreements don’t have to cover everything you own, but typically cover the following areas:
- Assets & belongings
- Debts – including settling outstanding debts
- Any expected inheritances
- Future income
- Property – how any property will be split, including second homes
- Wills – what will be covered?
- Maintenance – how much will be paid?
Post-Nuptial Agreements are usually legally binding and the position has been strengthened since 2008 following a Privy Council judgement. The court may choose to ignore the terms of the agreement if you or your partner do not provide full and frank financial disclosure, the terms are not fair and/or both parties have not had independent legal advice on the terms of the agreement.
It’s important to point out that if you amend a pre-nup agreement after you are married it therefore becomes a post-nuptial agreement and in turn more likely to be enforceable by the courts.
Post-Nuptial agreements help provide more certainty to couples about how assets would be divided in the event they separate or divorce. This clarity can be beneficial, especially if you have been married before and have children from a previous relationship.
Before going ahead with a pre-nup, you should have an in depth and open discussion with your partner. It is good to reach an agreement on how to split assets before taking it any further.
You should carefully consider if you need a post-nuptial agreement and if you want to sign one. This is particularly true if you are having marriage difficulties. Considering a Post-Nup when going through a period of emotional uncertainty does not always put you in the best mind-set to make a decision. You may find yourself agreeing to a lower settlement in order to remain in a marriage.
One of the more common situations when Post-Nuptial agreements are used is when a couple break-up and get back together. In these circumstances, it offers some form of protection if things go wrong again. It can also form a part of a reconciliation process to help save a marriage.
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