Almost every couple that decides to marry is sure they will manage to live happily without entering any agreements. Unfortunately, some couples fail to achieve that goal and decide to part ways, which might cause some troubles when it comes to distributing the family’s wealth. Entering a post-nup agreement in the UK is a viable option to avoid difficulties, but there are many details to take into account before opting in.
What is a post-nuptial agreement?
Much like prenuptial ones, postnuptial agreements are designed to avoid having issues with dividing property in case the couple decides to divorce. As the name of the document suggests, it is designed for couples that are already married. Thus, it is one of the best alternatives to prenuptial agreements in the UK for couples that did not have an agreement in advance.
Simplifying division of assets is not the only benefit postnuptial agreements provide. They also grant certainty that the belongings and assets will be protected and distributed fairly in case the marriage is terminated. It is beneficial even for couples who will never need to use it, simply because it provides peace of mind by eliminating a potentially bad situation.
The document is useful in cases where there is a disparity in earnings within the family. If one person earns significantly more than the other, it is reasonable for them to want to protect their assets. It is even more the case when one of the family members owns a business and intends to keep it in the event of a breakup. Lastly, it might be useful for couples who have children from previous relationships, as it is also natural for them to want to protect the inheritance for their children.
What should be included in a post-nuptial agreement?
There are many clauses that might be included in a post-nuptial agreement. Of course, the vast majority of them are used to describe the way the assets of the household will be distributed in case the relationship is terminated. It might include property, funds in joint accounts, financial assets, pensions, businesses, and other assets the family members have.
Some other clauses may be added to the agreement in order to clarify certain scenarios that might occur during marriage. For instance, it is possible to specify events which are intended to trigger a review and update of the agreement if they occur. Additionally, it is possible to prescribe the course of action for the couple in case one of them dies during marriage.
Are post-nuptial agreements legally binding in the UK?
In the United Kingdom, these documents cannot be legally binding. However, this does not mean getting a post-nuptial agreement is not worth it. Even though they are not legally binding, they may easily be relied upon in court in case of a dispute. Whilst it is possible for the court to consider the agreement unfair and decide it should not be followed, this is a rare scenario. If the couple obtained a professionally drafted post-nuptial agreement after marriage, there should be no disputes in the first place.
Do I need a post-nuptial agreement if I already have a prenuptial agreement?
In the United Kingdom, it is possible to get a post-nuption agreement even where the couple already has a prenuptial agreement. It is not always necessary and should only be used in specific circumstances. For example, in case the financial situation of the family has changed or any other significant updates to their lives, it might be reasonable to update the prenup agreement by entering a new agreeement. In any case, it is always better to consult a professional post-nuptial agreement lawyer in order to determine whether it is worth doing.
How to make a post-nuptial agreement?
Theoretically, a couple can write and sign such an agreement on their own, but this is not advisable. The legal fees associated with a dispute that is very likely to occur with such a homemade document will almost certainly exceed the cost of having a professionally drafted post-nuptial agreement in the UK, so the best option is to obtain professional help while writing the document.
A professional solicitor will explain how to obtain a post-nuptial agreement and guide the couple through the entire process. Once again, a properly made agreement will be extremely difficult to challenge in court, so both members of the family will be sure their assets are protected.
How can we help?
The post-nuptial agreement attorney team of Sterling Law is always willing to provide you with all the aid you need. We will help you in every stage of the process, starting with the decision to make an agreement itself. Our solicitors will carefully analyze the details of your case and be happy to assist you with an individual approach. Feel free to opt-in for a consultation online or at our office in London, and we will be glad to answer all the questions you might have.