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Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements
A pre-nuptial agreement is a financial agreement taken up before the marriage. It sets out who owns what at the onset of the marriage or civil partnership and how the couple foresee these assets being divided in the event of a relationship breakdown.
A post-nuptial agreement is essentially the same agreement but entered into after the marriage or partnership has taken place. In England and Wales, neither agreement is legally binding. However, the Court will take these agreements extremely seriously and will uphold them unless:
- The agreement was not entered into freely by either party.
- That either party did not fully understand the ramifications of the agreement and the time of signing.
- It would be unfair to either party to hold them to the agreement
Ensuring the agreement is upheld
Obtaining independent legal advice prior to signing a pre or post nuptial agreement will help show the Court that you understand its implications. The Glanvilles Damant Family Law team includes specialists in drawing up such agreements who can provide all the advice you may need to help ensure the agreement is legally binding.
The Court is more likely to uphold the agreement if a full and frank financial disclosure is made to show both parties were fully aware of the financial implications. If one partner is indifferent to the particulars of the other’s assets and does not insist on full disclosure, the Court may still consider the agreement binding.
The agreement could be overturned by the Court if there were allegations of emotional pressure or duress. Such allegations can be safeguarded against by making sure the agreement is completed and signed at least 21 days before the actual marriage.
If the agreement is unfairly weighted to one person, there is less chance of the Court upholding it. It is important that it is realistic and fair. The agreement should also provide for future changes in circumstance, such as the birth of a child as such an event would obviously affect the Court’s judgement.
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