A pre or post nuptial agreement is made between a couple before or during marriage or civil partnership stating how they intend their financial matters to be dealt with during the relationship but also in the event of divorce, dissolution or separation.
Such agreements can give partners, and their families, peace of mind and are particularly useful in determining what the parties intend to be regarded as matrimonial and non-matrimonial property and how inherited assets should be treated between them.
A pre or post nuptial agreement can be useful if you’ve been married before; particularly if you have children and you want to secure their future inheritance. They can also be useful in situations of established family wealth for one of the parties who then wishes to exclude it from being viewed as a matrimonial asset.
Often couples find that their relationship is strengthened if the financially weaker party feels more clarity, financial security and control in the relationship.
Nuptial agreements are not binding. This means that if the parties to a nuptial agreement later divorce, the terms of the nuptial agreement cannot override the courts broad discretion to decide how to redistribute their assets and income on an application for financial orders on divorce or dissolution. When considering an application, the court must, however, give appropriate weight to a nuptial agreement as one of the ‘circumstances’ which the court must take into account. A nuptial agreement is likely to be upheld if it meets the fairness test set down by the Supreme Court in the case Radmacher v Granatino .
It may be difficult to talk with your partner about putting an agreement in place, however, it can save a lot of expense and stress should the relationship breakdown.