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You’ve heard of a pre-nup, but what is a post-nuptial agreement?

October 07, 2017  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

divorce solicitor Thames Valley

Divorce solicitors report growing numbers of clients requesting ‘post-nuptial agreements’ within the past three years. Just like you might update your will, a ‘post-nup’ is a chance to amend an existing pre-nup or create an official agreement if you didn’t make one before you got married. And while a pre- or post-nup is not currently legally binding, the UK family courts do take these agreements into account during separation proceedings, so long as they are reasonable in nature, signed by both parties, and have been drawn up by a licensed legal practitioner.

But why would a couple decide to create a ‘post-nup’ in the first place?

Anecdotal research by divorce solicitors suggest that there are a number of situations where a couple might want to draw up an agreement that outlines the hypothetical division of assets should they separate in the future. Perhaps they’ve reached a crossroads in their relationship – priorities have shifted or circumstances have changed. Perhaps they’d like to revisit their original pre-nup following a relationship dispute or difficult patch. Perhaps they never made a pre-nup and would like to do so after purchasing property together or having children.

For some, sitting down and facing up to the possibility of going their separate ways can be a positive way of working through relationship issues, or help them to make the decision whether to stay together or begin the separation process by acting as a precursor to mediation and negotiation.

A post-nup can also be a way of strengthening a fractured relationship by allowing both parties to demonstrate trust,  cooperation, and respect for one another. For example, couples who are planning a family – in which one party intends to put their career on hold to focus on raising a child – may consider drawing up a post-nup to protect the non-working partner’s share of assets while their earning capacity is diminished.

Post-nups have recently become popular between wealthy international couples moving to London, which has been cited as ‘the divorce capital of the world’ due to high status divorces dealing with assets in the hundreds of millions.

However, a post-nup is not a bargaining chip. Like a pre-nup, it should signify independence and trust, clearly setting down the rights and dues of both parties, and providing a practical document that might serve to minimise future stress and complication in the event of divorce.

A post-nup should be a joint decision – it might not be the most romantic thing you ever do, but treat it like taking out life insurance or making a will. A post-nup should also be based on respect and fairness, not a case of oneupmanship, revenge, or animosity. Ultimately, a pre- or post-nup is a legal document created to protect your relationship, in the hope that you’ll never need to use it.

However, if you are entering into a post-nup as a way of dealing with difficult relationship issues, it might also be worth considering visiting a couples counsellor or speaking to your solicitor about mediation. While a post-nup may help you to negotiate the separation process with a clear plan in mind, if you’re set on the path to divorce it is pertinent to seek individual legal representation and discuss the situation with your solicitors before making any decisions.

For more advice on pre-nups, post-nups, separation and divorce, get in touch with the family law team at Frances Lindsay & Co. Let us take the weight off your shoulders with ‘a different kind of family law’.

 

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