With over a third of marriages in England and Wales ending in divorce, getting a prenuptial agreement (prenup) or postnuptial agreement (postnup) is increasingly normal. They can be a very effective way of protecting the assets you take into your marriage and dividing the assets at the end, should your marriage break down.
At Debenhams Ottaway, our family lawyers know how important it is for everyone to come out of the process happy and reassured and to minimise the stress and anxiety that comes with a relationship breakdown.
Our prenuptial and postnuptial agreements solicitors in St Albans advise on areas including:
- Drafting prenups and postnups
- Negotiating the terms of prenups and postnups
- Reviewing a prenup or postnup you have been asked to sign by your partner
- The application of prenups and postnups during divorces
Many of the people we work with run their own family business, have family trusts, pre acquired property or pensions. Most importantly, they may have children from a previous relationship that they need to properly provide for. We also work with parents and grandparents who have made a significant contribution to their children’s property or business and want to see this investment protected.
This is not an easy subject to discuss, but it can provide real peace of mind to all those involved. As friendly and considerate prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyers, we can help you.
Why choose Debenhams Ottaway’s family team for help with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?
- We have a long history of looking after couples and families in St Albans, across Hertfordshire and beyond
- Our team and lawyers are ranked in the leading legal directories Chambers UK and Legal 500 (tier 1) for family law
- We have the right people and technical excellence to look after you – our lawyers are Law Society accredited for Family Law Advanced and accredited Resolution specialists in complex financial remedies and cohabitation
“Good family solicitors. Constructive to work with to achieve outcome for respective clients. They don’t inflame family law matters by the language/tone of their letters.” The Legal 500, 2021
“A truly progressive team of energetic, forward-thinking lawyers who ensure a seamless client experience.” Chambers UK, 2021
“Debenhams Ottaway have been a well-established and well-respected family law practice for many years now. Their recruitment has been exceptional and they have a talented team of individuals offering a broad range of traditional family law services alongside mediation, collaborative law and the adoption of all ADR processes. They are a pleasure to work with.” The Legal 500, 2022
“I think that the extremely high level of service combined with reasonable rates and ethical approach to billing makes the firm stand out from most other firms. It is hard to find people who work as hard, deploy so much experience and have such a good knowledge of the law and tactics for the fees that they charge.” The Legal 500, 2023
Get in touch with our prenuptial and postnuptial agreement solicitors in St Albans
If you need assistance with a prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement or any other area of family law, please contact us today.
Common questions about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed before a marriage that documents what should happen to a couple’s assets if their relationship breaks down. This is particularly important if there is a significant imbalance of assets between the two people involved.
You can make an equivalent document for a civil partnership and this is usually referred to as a pre-civil partnership agreement or pre-registration agreement.
A postnuptial agreement provides the same function as a prenuptial agreement, but you can make it at any time after you are married.
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are not currently legally binding, with there being no specific legislation in relation to such agreements. However, they are carefully scrutinized by a judge in cases where there is a dispute over the financial issues arising from a divorce and are generally given significant weight – as long as the agreement was prepared correctly.
A judge will normally uphold a prenup or postnup if they consider it to be fair and reasonable and meets the parties’ needs and the needs of any children who are involved.
For a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement to be upheld by a judge, you must also meet the following conditions when it is made:
You and your spouse must receive independent legal advice before signing
- Your lawyers must sign the agreement to confirm that this requirement has been met
- Your prenuptial agreement must be signed at least 21 days prior to your marriage to prevent any subsequent argument that either you or your partner was under pressure to sign, given the proximity of the marriage ceremony
- You and your spouse must give full disclosure of your assets and other financial circumstances.
- The provisions in the agreement must meet your, your spouse’s and your children’s needs in terms of future housing needs, income etc.
Such an agreement should be regularly reviewed to ensure that it remains “fit for purpose”. If you have a major change of circumstances, such as having children, and this is not accounted for in your prenup or postnup, the agreement may not be implemented upon divorce.
When getting divorced with a prenup or postnup, the default position will be that the two parties should respect the terms of the agreement wherever possible as long as the agreement was properly entered into and meet the needs of those concerned. You can make the terms set out in your prenup or postnup legally binding at the point of divorce by applying to a court for a financial order to be made by consent.
However, if you feel the agreement is not fair or no longer applies due to a change of circumstances (such as having had children) you are not bound by the agreement and can attempt to negotiate a different settlement.
If you cannot agree a settlement, you are free to apply to a court for a decision on separating your finances and/or arrangements for children. While the court will look at your prenup or postnup, they are not bound by it and can set out different arrangements where they feel this would be appropriate.
This depends upon your circumstances. If you are not married yet and still have at least a few months until your wedding, this should be enough time to get a prenup in place.
If you are already married or you don’t have enough time before your wedding, you should consider a postnuptial agreement.
If you have already decided to end your marriage, a separation agreement may be more appropriate. This allows you to set out the terms of how you and your spouse can start to live separately before getting divorced.
If you are cohabiting and are not intending to marry, you can make a cohabitation agreement instead. This offers similar assurances to a prenup or postnup for unmarried couples, though the law which applies to unmarried couples is very different and specialist advice should be obtained.