The Definitive Guide to Postnuptial Agreements

Last updated:

November 06, 2022

Verified by Lawhive solicitors

Overview

A postnuptial agreement is a document made by a couple after getting married or entering a civil partnership, it sets out what will happen to their money (and other assets) if they get divorced or separated.

What is a Postnuptial Agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is a document made by a couple after getting married or entering a civil partnership, it sets out what will happen to their money (and other assets) if they get divorced or separated.

You may have heard about prenuptial agreements, they must be made at least 28 days before a couple gets married (or enters a civil partnership). They differ from postnuptial agreements, which can be made any time after a couple gets married (or enters a civil partnership). While neither type of agreement is legally binding, postnuptial agreements are more likely to be upheld in court.

A postnuptial agreement is not necessary for all married couples but can help provide clarity and peace of mind in case the marriage ends. Postnuptial agreements are useful for people who have different amounts of money, property or debts compared to their partner.

Common things included in postnuptial agreements:

  • What will happen to property owned by either person prior to the marriage
  • What will happen to the family home
  • What will happen to any inheritance from either person
  • What will happen to joint assets
  • What will happen to your pensions
  • How you will deal with any debts
  • If either person will pay or receive spousal maintenance payments (and for how long)

Do I need a solicitor?

You are able to write a postnuptial agreement yourself using online templates but this is not recommended. If you choose not to use a solicitor, you risk making mistakes that could invalidate your postnuptial agreement. See below for details.

DIY Score:

3

/ 5

You'll likely need a solicitor for a postnuptial agreement

Solutions

Write one yourself

Free
2 weeks

Writing a postnuptial agreement yourself is possible. You must make sure the agreement is written, voluntarily agreed by both people, has a full disclosure of assets and debts, is not one-sided or unfair and is signed by both people. Writing a postnuptial agreement yourself risks making mistakes that could invalidate the agreement. It is recommended that you get professional legal assistance.

Recommended

Hire an expert

£1000
5 days

A family law solicitor will help you decide if you need a postnuptial agreement, what to include in it and how to write it in the best way. It is recommended that each person hires an independent solicitor to advise them on what is best for them individually.

What steps are involved?

Step 1

Finding Solicitors

You must ensure that you and your partner are married or in a civil partnership and hire seperate solicitors. This will help validate the postnuptial agreement because these solicitors will protect your particular interests and make sure the agreement is not unfair or one sided. Lawhive is able to connect yourself and your partner each with your own solicitor.

Step 2

Solicitor Assessment

You will have to make a financial disclosure, this is a list of all of your assets and debts. You should show your solicitor the relevant evidence and documentation to back up your disclosure. You should also tell your solicitor whether you want to give or receive spousal support / other financial arrangements (like maintenance payments) in the event of a divorce or separation. Your partner will also have to do this.

Step 3

Writing the agreement

Your solicitor will write the postnuptial agreement according to how you want your assets, debts and / or maintenance payments to be split between you and your partner in the event of a divorce or separation.

Step 4

Contacting your partner's solicitor

Your solicitor will contact your partner’s solicitor and together write a postnuptial agreement which suits both you and your partner’s wishes.

Step 5

Finalising the agreement

You and your partner must think carefully about the terms of the agreement and each voluntarily agree to it. You will both have to sign the postnuptial agreement and have this witnessed by two people.

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Postnuptial Agreement

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Rating

4.8

Evidence and documentation

Evidence

  • Will describing entitlement to any inheritance
  • Marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate

Documentation

  • List of assets (common assets include property, savings, shares, pensions, trusts and businesses)
  • List of debts
  • Deed to property (or properties)

Cost

  • A solicitor’s fee for a postnuptial agreement can range from around £1,000 to £10,000.

Factors that effect cost

  • The total value of the assets owned by both parties

Time

  • Typically it will take 1-2 weeks

Factors that effect time

  • Complexity of the case
  • Lack of cooperation from either party

FAQs

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