More than 40 per cent of marriages end in divorce and one in five people seeking to end their marriage have already been through one divorce. As a result, Postnuptial Agreements, marriage contracts and joint expression of a couple’s wishes, are gaining in popularity. There are four criteria that judges use to determine the validity of a Postnuptial Agreement:
• the circumstances surrounding the making of the Agreement
• the conduct of the parties leading up to the Agreement
• the interdependence and mutual influence that existed between the parties
• whether there was undue pressure by one side or exploitation of a dominant position to secure an unreasonable advantage
However it is important to note that whilst family law courts in England and Wales are beginning to take some note of both prenups and popstnups, neither are yet fully enforceable.
Why Should a Married Couple Create a Postnuptial Agreement?
For couples who are already married, particularly those with children, drawing up a Postnuptial Agreement can prevent a lot of potentially harmful stress in the event that the relationship turns sour. Many married couples create Postnups to help resolve issues in their marriage by removing a source of disagreement over finances, assets, children, chores and certain behaviours such as adultery. If the financial status, career, receiving an inheritance, experiencing a change in investment income, selling a business, etc. changes after the marriage it is advisable to draw up a Postnup to safeguard your position and the process of creating a Postnuptial Agreement, can have both a positive emotional and legal influence on your marriage and prevent needless stress if it fails.
What should be included in a Postnuptial Agreement?
If a Postnuptial Agreement is challenged in court, the court may scrutinise them more carefully than Prenuptial Agreements. It is therefore advisable to consider factoring in the following:
1. All assets, liabilities, income and expectations of gifts and inheritances
2. All belongings whether jointly or individually owned, such as property, artwork and jewellery
3. Death benefits and what you will provide for in your Will
4. How much if any maintenance will be paid and spousal support, or a waiver or property settlement
5. Medical, disability, life or long-term-care insurance coverage
6. Ownership of the marital and any second homes
7. The payment of any debts
8. The process regarding any property appreciation, gains, income, rentals, dividends or proceeds of a sale
Thinking about a UK Postnuptial Agreement? Call our specialists
Remember that to safeguard your Postnuptial Agreement both spouses should seek full and fair disclosure and separate and independent legal representation from specialist family law solicitors.
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