Postnuptial agreements can be sound planning for the future

8th March 2015 by

 

Far from being the harbingers of doom that some people would like to think prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are, there are many positive aspects to the forward planning of marital finances should the worst happen and a relationship end in divorce or civil-partnership dissolution.

Firstly, if a couple decides to negotiate a marital property agreement, it must be clear that any such agreement will not be held by a family court to represent a get-out clause for spouses who wish to leave each other at a disadvantage. A court will take each agreement under its own merit and will scrutinise the contents and ramifications of its terms in relation to the effects the clauses would have and how the terms were agreed upon.

With this in mind, the negotiation of a postnuptial agreement must be carefully conducted and Healys’ family lawyers in London and Brighton are here to offer legal advice and representation should you wish to draw up such a document.

Why might you need a post-nuptial agreement

It is fair to say that tension over finances is a contributory factor in many relationship breakdowns and a post-nuptial agreement may be a means to relieving some of those tensions. Where a relationship has foundered and the spouses have reached a point of mediation, the couple may find that by talking about money and setting down some plans for marital property they can go forward in their relationship with renewed certainty and clarity.

With globalisation and increasing numbers of families moving to overseas jurisdictions for work and business purposes, a postnuptial agreement may be used to agree jurisdiction should a divorce occur. This would mean that couples could prescribe that their case be heard under English and Welsh family law, rather under a foreign legal system which could treat spouses and their dependents very differently to UK courts.

A postnup can be used very effectively to protect a significant asset owned by one partner; for instance a valuable company, or an inheritance. In fact, some companies will insist on partners signing a postnup which would bar their spouse from making any claim against the company in the event of a divorce and this is especially pertinent in hedge fund operations.

Are postnups binding

As with prenuptial agreements, the court will look at each financial settlement on divorce case based upon its individual merits and will adjudge whether it can allow the terms to be applied based on the principles of family law as prescribed by the Matrimonial Causes Act.

The court will seek to ensure that both parties were full and frank in their disclosure of financial details at the time of negotiation and that no coercion took place in order to see that the agreement was signed. Both parties to a postnuptial agreement should seek independent legal advice and a court will take an unfavourable view of any agreement signed without such input, which should preferably be from an experienced family lawyer.

Healys’ family lawyers in London and Brighton can help you

If you wish to discuss the possibility of drawing up a postnuptial agreement, the team at Healys can help.

Healys’ solicitors are experienced in successfully drafting and advising on pre- and postnuptial agreements.

Our many years’ experience as specialist family solicitors and lawyers has taught us that each individual situation is different. Healys can help by listening sensitively and giving you straightforward legal advice so you can weigh up the choices which work best for you.

When things are amicable we can help you keep it that way, and when things are tough we can help fight your corner.

If you wish to speak to a solicitor in Brighton please call 01273 685 888 or email an enquiry to family@healys.com

Alternatively our family lawyers in London can be reached on 020 7822 4000. We look forward to helping you.