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Pre- and Post- Nuptial Agreements

Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements are becoming more common as couples look to protect their assets if their marriage or civil partnership ends. A nuptial agreement records the couple’s wishes and intentions regarding their financial affairs, which can provide certainty and help avoid disagreements.

Whilst the Court will not automatically enforce a pre-nuptial agreement when deciding on a financial settlement, they can be highly persuasive and may be upheld depending on the facts of each case. Pre-nups and post-nups will be considered by the Courts as long as they were freely entered into and not signed in unfair circumstances (for example, if one partner was unduly pressured, or had no independent legal advice).

To give the best chance that the Court will uphold your pre- or post-nuptial agreement, you should have the agreement drawn up by a qualified family law expert. Both parties should seek legal advice before signing the agreement, provide full financial disclosure and ensure that they fully understand the terms of the agreement and the implications of entering into it.

What are pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements?

A pre-nuptial agreement is an agreement made by a couple before they marry or enter into a civil partnership, which sets out how they wish their assets to be divided if they divorce or have their civil partnership dissolved. A post-nuptial agreement is the same, but the timing is different as it is drawn up after the ceremony.

Pre- and post-nuptial agreements will usually provide for:

  • Protecting inherited money
  • Protecting pre-marital assets, savings or investments
  • Property and other assets held in joint or sole names
  • Agreement as to how assets (savings, shares, pensions, trusts etc) will be split assets will be divided on divorce or dissolution
  • Business interests
  • Agreement as to how debts would be dealt with assets will be divided on divorce or dissolution
  • Whether there will be provision for maintenance or pension sharing

Why should I get a pre-nuptial agreement?

If you are planning on getting married or entering into a civil partnership, and there is a disparity of wealth between you and your partner, or your finances are complex, you may wish to consider a pre-nuptial agreement. A pre-nuptial agreement can:

  • Protect or ‘ring-fence’ assets acquired before the ceremony
  • Protect business or asset trusts
  • Set out whether either partner will pay or receive any spousal maintenance and for how long
  • Set out how assets and finances will be divided
  • Make provision for any family pets on divorce

Can pre-nuptial agreements be changed once you are married?

No, once a pre-nuptial agreement has been made and agreed upon by both parties, it cannot be changed. However, both parties can agree to vary its terms with an additional post-nuptial agreement and make provision for this later agreement to supersede the earlier agreement.

How we can help

Sorting out finances after divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership can be complex, and a pre-nuptial agreement is one step you might wish to take to help protect your interests should your relationship come to an end. Sterling de Zuk specialises in family law and financial arrangements and can offer legal advice to individuals throughout Cheshire.

Contact Mark Thomson on email: or phone: 0333 070 5651 


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