Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Experts in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that hold up as fair and valid in a court of law.

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Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Create a prenuptial agreement with confidence

More and more couples are proactively considering how they want to divide their assets in the event of a future separation. A carefully crafted prenup can help.

We have extensive expertise in creating prenuptial and postnuptial agreements which the courts take very seriously when reaching a decision. Our team of skilled family lawyers will make sure your agreement reflects all the appropriate considerations and precautions, and that it is not being entered into under any form of pressure or duress.

A prenuptial agreement or ‘prenup’ outlines the division of assets in the event of a later breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership. Prenups can cover properties, income, debts and inheritances between both parties.

Although not currently legally binding, they can be persuasive in helping the court understand what the parties intended when relations were positive. They can also be valuable tools for identifying and protecting assets owned prior to marriage.

To strengthen the weight the court to attaches to them, prenuptial agreements should be reviewed at significant milestones such as the birth of a child, long-term illness or redundancy to ensure they accurately reflect the circumstances of the relationship.

We also provide guidance on postnuptial agreements, which are entered into after the wedding when there is less pressure to agree matters. These ‘postnups’ provide additional protection by providing evidence of intent to the court.

Notwithstanding agreement of the terms of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, the court retains discretionary powers to redistribute a couple’s resources in divorce or dissolution proceedings after taking into account all the relevant circumstances of the case.

If you are thinking about getting married or entering into a civil partnership, don’t hesitate to consult a member of our team at St Albans, Harpenden or Luton about the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.

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FAQs

Frequently asked questions

Do you do ‘fixed fee’ prenuptial and postnuptial agreements?

At Taylor Walton Solicitors, we do not believe in hidden costs and do not therefore offer a ‘fixed fee’ when pricing our legal services. This term is often used in misleading marketing to promote legal service deals that are far too good to be true. For example, a service that claims to be ‘fixed fee’ may involve the consultation and drafting of an agreement but exclude the accountancy costs necessary for assessing an individual’s financial position, meaning you end up spending much more than the initial deal advertised.  

Every couple will have different requirements; and it is important that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are tailored to the couples’ specific needs and financial circumstances. During your first consultation, we ask that you bring as much information about your personal finances and assets as possible to enable us to give you an accurate estimate of what our services will cost.   

If you decide that changes need to be made to your prenup or postnup (either during the agreement drafting phase or after) then we will be clear about the cost of any additional work. 

What is a postnuptial agreement?

Postnuptial agreements work similarly to prenuptial agreements, except that they are created by couples who are already married. They are particularly useful for married couples wishing to protect new wealth and assets acquired after entering a marriage, such as inheritances or business shares.  

Postnuptial agreements can be entered into at any time, no matter how long the couple have been married.  

Do I need a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements should be considered if you want to determine how your property and finances (both your own and the ones shared with your partner) will be divided in the event of a divorce. We understand that having to think about the possibility splitting up is not pleasant, however it is sensible to be prepared and have your finances in order in case of the event of a divorce, as it could save you a lot of time and money later.  

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements should be considered if you have assets which are considered highly valuable or sentimental and are more common where one partner has accumulated wealth at the outset , be that from inheritance, a business or land, or for those couples marrying for the second time or later in their lives, or where there are children form earlier relationships.  

Can you write your own prenuptial agreement?

Although nothing is stopping you legally from writing your own prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, please be aware that you are doing so at your own risk by not involving a legal specialist in the process.  

Agreements drafted by a couple without professional help may not be persuasive in court, as they (without an in-depth understanding of English law) may lack the contractual formalities and structure needed for a document to be recognised as a legal contract such as conditions that treat one party unfairly, someone to witness the document being signed, certain clauses etc.  

Our solicitors are experts in drafting prenup and postnup arrangements that have all the details and considerations needed to stand up to scrutiny in a court of law.  

Can I update my prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be altered if there is agreement to the changes. Some of the reasons couples may decide to make amendments to their existing prenup or postnup agreement include (but are not limited to):   

  • Property or new wealth acquisition – for example, if one spouse has received new property or an inheritance during the marriage and wants it protected under their existing agreement.  
  • The birth of children – the couple wishes to redistribute the assets specified in the original agreement to include clauses on what their children would receive, what maintenance would be paid, how childcare would be arranged etc.  
  • Ceasing the agreement – the couple have decided they no longer want the original prenup or postnup so wish to cancel the arrangement.  

If your original prenup/postnup was drawn up by one of our specialist solicitors, then there will be terms and conditions included in your agreement which provide for easy updates and amendments. If your original agreement was not created by us and does not include these conditions, then a new arrangement may need to be drawn up.   

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement cannot be changed if the couple have separated or are going through a divorce.   

Can you challenge a prenuptial agreement?

Yes, it is possible for an individual to challenge or contest a prenuptial agreement during the divorce process.   

Some of the grounds that can be used to challenge a prenuptial agreement include:  

  • If not all assets or debts were disclosed at the time of writing the agreement.  
  • The agreement was signed when one spouse was mentally ill, under the influence of drugs or alcohol or being coerced by their spouse or another person to sign the agreement.  
  • There is evidence that either one or both people in the marriage did not understand the full implications of the agreement when they signed it.  
  • The couple’s children are not referenced in the agreement, are being treated unfairly by it or are not receiving adequate financial provision under the agreement’s current terms.  
  • The agreement was signed less than 28 days before the marriage.  
  • The agreement is fraudulent due to a forged signature, there being witnesses present at the original signing who were not independent or unauthorised changes to the text after signing.  

Can a prenuptial agreement protect future earnings?

Yes, a prenuptial agreement can help protect your future earnings and pension earnings.  

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is an official contract outlining what financial assets there are and how you would like them to be handled in the event of a divorce. For couples who have had a civil partnership, this document is called a pre-registration agreement.  

Prenups can be useful for protecting assets acquired before the marriage, future inheritances or trusts and help open transparent financial discussions from the very start of a relationship.

What do prenuptial and postnuptial agreements cost?

The cost of our prenuptial and postnuptial agreements depends on the complexity of the assets involved in the arrangement. Our solicitors can give you as estimate on how much our legal services will cost through a private and confidential consultation, once they have an outline of the assets (e.g., property, savings, valuables such as cars, furniture and jewellery) and the estimated value.   

What can you not include in a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements cannot include the following: 

  • Child custody arrangements (e.g., visitation arrangements, where they will attend school) 
  • Child maintenance payments 
  • Lifestyle or personal matters 
  • Matters related to illegal activities  

There are strict rules as to what can or can’t be included in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and including any of the above points could result in your agreement not being upheld in court. 

Can civil partners have postnuptial and prenuptial agreements?

Yes, civil partners can also enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, and the process will be the same as married couples. 

Are postnuptial and prenuptial agreements legally binding in England and Wales?

There is currently no English law that makes prenuptial or postnuptial agreements legally binding. However, the courts are increasingly taking prenuptial and postnuptial arrangements into account when deciding the division of assets between a former couple.  

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can only be taken into consideration by the courts if it can be demonstrated that the agreement was entered into and understood by both parties. Therefore, an experienced specialist solicitor advising on your prenup or postnup will strengthen the agreement’s validity in the eyes of the court. We also encourage both parties to seek independent legal advice before signing an agreement. 

Can you amend a prenuptial agreement after marriage?

No, but a postnuptial agreement can be entered into instead.

How long does a prenuptial agreement remain valid for?

A prenuptial agreement will remain valid for life; however, you may wish to have it updated every few years or whenever your financial circumstances change significantly e.g., through the birth of children, change of jobs and promotions or the receipt of an inheritance. This will ensure that these assets are also protected and will strengthen your agreement should it ever be challenged in a divorce court. 

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