What is Nuptial Agreements? Prenuptial & Postnuptial

A prenuptial agreement or pre-civil partnership agreement is made between two parties before they marry or enter a civil partnership. 

A postnuptial agreement or post-civil partnership agreement is made after the parties marry or enter a civil partnership.  

The agreement’s primary purpose is to set out how the parties’ finances and assets will be distributed in the event of separation or divorce. Some agreements also set out how the parties will manage their finances during the marriage or partnership. 

Whilst such agreements are not considered legally binding, the courts will consider these agreements as documents the parties can rely upon, provided they are appropriately drawn up, freely entered into and fair.

The purpose of a nuptial agreement  

The most common reason people enter into nuptial agreements is to ensure they retain control of specific assets in the event of separation. They may have pre-marital wealth or expect to inherit or receive significant financial gifts during the marriage that they want to preserve in the event of separation.  

While nuptial agreements may be limited to non-marital assets and liabilities, they commonly also cover how the parties propose dividing marital assets in the event of a permanent separation. 

A nuptial agreement potentially reduces the likelihood of court proceedings which are costly, time-consuming, stressful, and can cause irreparable damage to relationships that need to be maintained, especially when children are involved. However, the court may override any agreement and will consider all the circumstances at the point of financial remedy proceedings. 

Factors that the court must consider when making financial orders can be summarised under the following headings: 

1. financial resources;  

2. financial needs;  

3. prior standard of living;  

4. ages and time together; 

5. physical or mental disability;  

6. family welfare contributions – past and future;  

7. relevant conduct of the parties; and  

8. loss of benefit due to divorce, dissolution, or nullity. 

Our dedicated Family team who are experienced in drafting both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, will be on hand to advise you in detail and answer any questions you may have.  

*This article is not legal advice but provides a general overview. The specific details of your case will determine the best course of action.