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Post-Nuptial Agreements - the Basics

More than 40 per cent of marriages end in divorce (in England and Wales more than 110,000 couples divorce annually) and when one in five of all men and women seeking to end their marriage have already been through one divorce, it is perhaps not surprising that more and more people are seeking to safeguard their individual positions by entering into a pre-nuptial agreement prior to marriage or securing protection by drawing up a post-nuptial agreement at a later time.

For couples who are already married, particularly those with children, drawing up a post-nuptial agreement, which is agreed upon by both as being a fair statement of their wishes, can prevent a lot of potentially harmful stress in the event that the relationship turns sour.

To be binding a post-nuptial agreement must be seen to be fair. When considering whether to enforce a post-nuptial agreement, the court has regard to:

  • the conduct of the parties leading up to the agreement;
  • the circumstances surrounding the making of the agreement;
  • whether there was undue pressure by one side or exploitation of a dominant position to secure an unreasonable advantage; and
  • the interdependence and mutual influence that existed between the parties.

For more information on the financial aspects of divorce, see  Divorce and Money.

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It is clear that a post-nuptial agreement can help couples avoid a bitter battle in the event of a divorce and lead to fairer settlements, provided the agreement is given careful thought and made with the benefit of independent legal advice on both sides.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.