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Pre and Post-nuptial Agreements

Pre and post nuptial agreements are agreements made between a couple either before or after marriage which set out how they wish their financial affairs to be dealt with if the marriage breaks down.

Most often, they are used to ringfence assets acquired before the marriage or to protect assets which may be inherited during the marriage. The agreement will set out  how those assets should be treated if the relationship breaks down. They may be a sensible consideration if one person is entering into the marriage with significantly more assets than the other.  These agreements can also seek to ringfence shares in a family business to keep the business within the original family.

Whilst a conversation about the end of a marriage before it has really started may be difficult, agreements of this sort are increasingly common and many couples see them as a sensible planning exercise to avoid the uncertainty and significant legal costs which can follow on divorce.


What is the Difference Between Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements?

A pre-nuptial agreement is entered into before the marriage whilst a post-nuptial agreement is entered into after the marriage has taken place. If the time before the wedding is short, it may be better to consider a post-nuptial agreement to give more time for reflection on what it should contain and ensure everyone is comfortable with the content.

How Binding Are They?

Nuptial agreements are not currently legal binding in this country but as long as they have been entered into properly, it is likely that a court will consider them as a relevant factor in the a divorce settlement. 

For your agreement to be given consideration you should ensure that:

  • Each person has had the opportunity of taking independent legal advice before signing it
  • With pre-nuptial agreements, it has been signed at least 28 days before the wedding
  • Each person has provided information about their financial circumstances to the other so that they can make an informed decision about the terms of the agreement
  • The agreement meets the needs of each person and any children they may have.

Should I Review a Nuptial Agreement?

We would recommend reviewing your nuptial agreement regularly and certainly when you have a significant change in personal circumstances such as an inheritance, if you have children, or there is a significant change to your financial situation. This is in line with other personal legal documents such as Wills or LPAs to ensure that everything reflects your current circumstances.


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