After the wedding presents have been opened and the honeymoon is over, the real work of marriage begins. For most couples, thinking about what would happen if they were to later split is often the last thing on their minds.
“As you embark on your new life together, there can be a lot at stake. If you are part of a family business, or have children from a previous relationship you will naturally want to protect what is yours from the outset. Making a postnuptial agreement can provide a great deal of reassurance for you both, as well as other family members,” says Danelle.
Postnuptial agreements can be particularly relevant where the financial situation has changed during the course of the marriage. This might be through a successful business venture, a windfall payment like an inheritance or lottery win, or through the generosity of a gift from one set of parents.
On divorce or civil partnership dissolution all the ‘assets of the marriage’ are usually considered to be part of a pot that can be divided between both people equally, or as decided through negotiation or by the court. Many couples find using collaborative law an excellent way to reach an agreement for a financial settlement. The collaborative process can be equally useful in deciding the terms of a postnuptial agreement.
By recording the terms of their agreement in a postnuptial agreement, it may be possible to ring-fence certain assets received from one side of the family and protect them in the case of future relationship breakdown.
As with any contract, a postnuptial agreement may be challenged but if certain conditions are satisfied the court is more likely to uphold it.
As long as there was no undue duress, both people had independent legal advice and the terms of the agreement were fair at the time, they can apply to the court to enforce a postnuptial agreement.
The law in this area is complex and constantly changing. Your solicitor will need to look at all the factors surrounding the postnuptial agreement and will give you specific legal advice according to your personal circumstances.