If you’re bringing assets into a marriage or civil union and want to protect them, you and your intended partner can sign a prenuptial agreement. Even if you’ve already married, your assets can still be protected by having a post-nuptial agreement drawn up and signed by your spouse. Along with protecting assets you or your partner brought into your relationship, it can also provide for several other arrangements if your marriage or partnership dissolves.
What These Agreements Include
The only difference between a prenuptial and post-nuptial agreement is the timeline of when the agreement was signed. A prenuptial is signed prior to a marriage or civil union, while a post-nuptial is signed after the marriage or civil union has taken place. Both agreements are legally binding, although post-nuptials have only been legally binding in the UK since 2008.
Along with protecting any assets you and/or your partner brought into your relationship, these agreements can be used to arrange:
- Division of assets and debts
- Payment of any outstanding debts
- Expectations of inheritances and gifts which were made
- Details of jointly and individually owned properties
- Details of what is covered by Wills upon the death of one of the parties
- How much maintenance is to be paid to ex-partners
- How properties would be split
- Insurance coverage for medical, disability and death
Most family solicitors would advise their clients to have a prenuptial prepared and signed. However, if it takes time to broach the subject with your intended and you don’t wish to put off being married, then a post-nuptial agreement can provide the same protection of assets you’re seeking.
Post-nuptials should also be considered if you are married or in a civil union, but have previously separated and didn’t end the relationship. It gives you both a chance to review what you wrote in your prenuptial, if you had one, and make any necessary changes if they’re warranted. In addition, pre- and post-nuptials should be rewritten as life changes occur, such as having children or if former spouses remarried and no longer require maintenance.
Use Different Attorneys
When having a pre- or post-nuptial agreement negotiated and signed, you and your partner should hire different family solicitors in London. This will prevent a conflict of interest and you can both get the advice you need to draw up a fair agreement. Even though you both agree that any assets you each brought into the marriage should be kept separate from anything earned together, if either of you were married before and had children, you will need to specify their maintenance and make other arrangements, such as those listed above, for your shared assets.
Pre- and post-nuptials can be challenged in court, but they will most likely be upheld if it was determined both parties entered into the agreement willingly and freely. Whether you have a business, real estate, or money you wish to protect when entering into a marriage or civil union, having your solicitor draw up a pre- or post-nuptial agreement can keep them separate from joint assets in your partnership.