Post-Nuptial Agreements: A Marriage Saver?

  • Posted

The lockdown has been an incredibly difficult time for most people, but perhaps none more so than for couples whose relationship is already in difficulty. The social distancing and stay at home rules meant that for a time it was impossible to get out of the home and meet friends or family for support. This has placed an immense amount of pressure on relationships. For some, lockdown exposed difficulties in the relationship that might have previously been bubbling under the surface. For others, lockdown meant having to remain living with a partner where a decision had already been made to separate.

In this situation it is a good idea to speak with a family solicitor to find out exactly what your rights are and to get further information regarding those first important steps towards separation. It may well be that a decision is taken to give the relationship another go, however, it is very likely that both parties have given some thought as to how they would manage financially in the event of separation.

To avoid this uncertainty, and perhaps to bring the focus back on making the relationship work, it may be advisable to reach an agreement about what would happen in the event of a separation.

Most people have heard of pre-nuptial agreements, which are agreements entered into before the marriage, but not so many are aware of post-nuptial agreements. A post-nuptial agreement is an agreement entered into any time after the marriage has taken place. It has very similar legal status to a pre-nup and is also increasing in popularity.

If a couple can reach an agreement about how they will manage the financial arrangements upon separation this can alleviate their anxieties for the future. It can be very worrying for each spouse not to know whether they will be able to afford to rehouse themselves and whether there would be sufficient income to cover their needs and those of any children. A post-nuptial agreement setting out how finances and assets are to be managed, both during the marriage and in the event of separation, may enable the parties to focus on rebuilding their relationship.

A post-nuptial agreement can be agreed a number of ways: through discussions directly between the spouses; negotiations via solicitors; or within mediation. However the agreement is reached it should be drafted by solicitors and both parties should have independent legal advice to ensure that the post-nuptial agreement has the best prospect of being enforceable.

If you need advice or assistance in this area please contact me on the contact details provided.

Author: Hannah Millrain, Family Solicitor