Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements – what are they?
Pre Nuptial Agreements, commonly referred to as pre-nups, clarify what a couple would wish to happen to their assets and income in the event that their marriage breaks down. Pre-nups are drafted before the marriage (and the terms should be agreed at least 28 days before the wedding).
Post Nuptial Agreements, referred to as post-nups, are similar to pre-nups but are entered into after marriage but before a separation.
Why might a pre or post-nup be right for us?
Couples choose to enter into these agreements for a variety of reasons. Some couples like the certainty they provide, they know that, if the marriage breaks down, they can avoid bitter and lengthy negotiations about money because the decisions will have already been made. Attitudes towards pre and post-nups are changing and more couples now view them as part of general financial planning, particularly if either party has wealth which they would wish to protect for older children, perhaps from a previous marriage. Most commonly, a pre-nup may be right for you if you have built up wealth prior to the relationship which you would wish to protect.
Post-nups can be useful if you come into wealth during the marriage, for example, from an inheritance where you would want to protect some or all of this wealth in the event of a marriage break down.
Are Pre and Post-Nups Binding?
Although they are not presently legally binding the Court will now attach considerable weight to the agreement if the Court is asked to make an Order in relation to finances. As a result of several high profile cases in recent years the Court are highly unlikely not to follow the pre-nup as long as:-
- Each person has had independent legal advice
- The agreement is not blatantly unfair to one party, for example, by not even meeting that person’s basic financial needs in the event of a relationship break down
- Each party discloses (and attaches to the agreement) a summary of the assets and income available to them
- Each person freely enters into the agreement
- If it is a pre-nup, it should be entered into at least 28 days before the marriage.
How much will it cost?
This will depend upon the complexity of the agreement, assets involved and how much financial disclosure there is to attach in summary form to the agreement. Also, the number of meetings that are required to finalise the terms of the agreement. For a straightforward agreement fees could be in the region of £1,000.00 to £1,500.00 + vat.
Please contact a member of our Family Team to discuss your circumstances and we will be pleased to advise if a pre or post-nup is suitable for you and the likely cost.