Ever heard of a post-nuptial agreement? Most people will be familiar with a pre-nuptial agreement, where they set out division of assets and what will happen if the couple are to split. A very unromantic part of getting married, but often it is a vital document that protects both parties. We have sometimes met couples who didn’t want a pre-nuptial agreement, but decided a post-nuptial was better option for them.
What is a post-nuptial agreement?
It’s a printed and signed contract between a married couple that can cover a wide range of issues and assets that will need to be dealt with if the couple ever splits.
What does a post-nuptial agreement cover?
The extensiveness of a post-nuptial agreement depends on the variety of issues that the conditions dictate. This could include any of the following:
- How any forthcoming inheritance received will be handled
- How property already owned by individuals will be divided
- How property already owned jointly will be divided
- What happens with life insurance
- The division of any pension assets
- Preparations for any spousal maintenance that will be put in place if they are to split
- Dealing with current or upcoming debts
How to ensure a post-nuptial agreement is legally binding
As post-nuptial contracts are not mechanically legally binding, there are steps that need to be taken to safeguard that the contract has the best conceivable chance of being upheld by the courts, including:
- Both parties accessing independent legal advice from different solicitors
- Opening with an open and honest discussion of all the possessions, properties, assets, debts that you have as a couple, and as individuals, and making a list of those assets
- Guaranteeing that the agreement does not seek to dismiss the possibility of one person paying child maintenance in the future because of the way assets are divided.
- Adding a clause that triggers review of the agreement at various key moments in life, such as having children.
- Ensuring that the agreement is not noticeably biased to one person or other in terms of the way assets are divided
Although the courts don’t have to uphold a post-nuptial agreement, they are increasingly likely to do so and, as a result, these contracts are much more relevant than they used to be. Contact JMR Solicitors to discuss your post-nuptial or pre-nuptial agreement.