Pre-nuptial / Post-nuptial Agreements

Our Family Law team are specialists in dealing with Pre-nuptial & Post-nuptial agreements.  

At the moment, these agreements are not binding in the UK, however following the landmark decision of Radmacher v Granatino [2010], they are carrying significantly more weight with the courts.

It is becoming more common for couples to enter into a pre-marital agreement, setting out the possible financial outcomes in the event that they separate.  This is particularly common in cases where there is inherited wealth (or the likelihood of inherited wealth in the future), where there are family business interests, or this is the second marriage for one or both parties.

Whilst prenuptial agreements are not currently binding in the UK, provided that a prenuptial agreement has been entered into freely and voluntarily and the agreement recorded is fair to both parties, then it will be regarded as a relevant factor to consider within subsequent divorce proceedings when the court considers how the assets should be distributed fairly between the two of you.

How does a prenuptial agreement work?
There are a number of ways of ensuring that a prenuptial agreement carries weight in the UK courts.  In order for a prenuptial agreement to be reliable evidence of what you intended at the beginning of your relationship, it is important that:

  • each of you receive independent legal advice on the terms of the prenuptial agreement
  • there needs to be full and frank disclosure of financial documents between each of you
  • each of you must enter into the agreement of your own free will
  • there must be sufficient time between before the wedding for you both to obtain appropriate legal advice on the terms of the agreement
  • the agreement must be entered into by way of a deed
  • you must each intend to enter legal relations with each other
  • there should be provision for a review of the agreement in the event of a change of circumstances.

Our family team recognise the sometimes difficult dynamics and the potential for such agreements to be highly emotive and will always deal with each individual case with sensitivity and with discretion.

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Experience

  • Acting for an advising a client who had received significant gifts over the course of the marriage from the parents. The client was awarded in excess of 50% of the assets.
  • Acting for and advising a high net worth client who held business interests with their spouse. The value of the business became a point of contention during the course of financial remedy proceedings issued by the other party and it proved necessary to appoint a forensic accountant to report on the value of the company, liquidity and tax implications of a sale or transfer of shares from one party to the other.
  • Acting for and advising a high net worth client on a division of the matrimonial assets following a short marriage. The case settled out of court and we were able to successfully negotiate a settlement whereby the majority of the assets (including high value properties held by a business in which the client had a shareholding) were retained by our client.
  • Acting for and advising high net worth overseas clients on the successful negotiation of a matrimonial settlement, including property abroad and in the UK and business interests.
  • Acting for and advising a client concerning a dispute involving children whereby the unmarried ex-partner made a claim for capital, top up of child maintenance and payment of school fees under Schedule 1 Children Act 1989.
  • Acting for and advising clients in respect of Children Act applications, applications for non-molestation and occupation orders, and applications to vary old maintenance orders.

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