What are Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements?

10 Aug 2018

Author: Aman Dhillon


A pre-nuptial agreement or ‘prenup’ is a contract entered into by couples before marriage which is intended to deal with financial provision in the event of a divorce.

A prenup can help protect your interests if the marriage breaks down and often such provision is therefore less than the Court would order in the absence of a prenup.

A post-nuptial agreement or ‘postnup’ is similar to a prenup except that it is entered into during the marriage.

At Hepburn Delaney we have experienced Family Law Specialists who can prepare and if necessary negotiate the terms of both types of nuptial agreements.

What can be included in the agreement?

-Income including future income;
-Assets including but not limited to property, investments and overseas interests and any gains on such assets;
-Personal belongings and other chattels;
-Debts including payment of any outstanding debts;
-Expectations of any gifts &/or inheritances;
-What will be covered in Wills in the event of death;
-Insurance coverage;

Whether the above are in individual or joint names and whether they were acquired before or during the marriage.

Are nuptial agreements enforceable?

Unlike in some Countries, a nuptial agreement is not yet strictly binding in England and Wales.

In the event of separation and divorce, the Court has full powers to impose a financial settlement, even if this results in a variation of any agreement reached between the parties, either before or after the marriage.

However, a nuptial agreement, drawn up correctly, is the best way to protect your assets and to evidence your agreement as to what should happen in the event of a separation and divorce.

Why do we need a nuptial agreement?

Whilst not strictly binding in England & Wales, they can and often are upheld by the Court, providing certain safeguards are put in place. It is therefore important that you obtain specialist advice and consider the following to ensure that such agreement is fair and to ensure that it has the best chance of being upheld at a later stage:

1.You and your fiancé/é should disclose to one another your full financial position.

2.You should each get your own independent legal advice to ensure that you understand the implications of the agreement.

3.You should consider what might happen in the event that your circumstances change, such as provision for future children or for ill health.

4.You should try to ensure that both parties’ reasonable needs are provided for.

Ideally you should enter into an agreement as far in advance of the wedding as possible preferably at least 28 days. This allows you to fully consider the full financial position of each of you individually and together, without undue influences or pressures.

Furthermore, consideration should also be given to continuing to keep assets you wish to protect separate throughout the marriage thus confirming the intention within the agreement if appropriate.

How can we help you?

If you wish to set up or check any agreement and protect your assets in the event of a marriage breakdown, our experienced family law team will ensure that any proposed agreement is possible to be upheld.

For more information or advice please visit our website: https://www.hepburndelaney.co.uk/our-services/familylaw/pre-nuptial-agreements/ or contact one of our Family law Specialists on 01442 218090.