In the UK, a Post-nuptial Agreement, or ‘postnup’, is a contract agreed upon by a married couple which stipulates how their money and assets will be divided up, should their marriage end in divorce.
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales, postnups are not legally binding but they are well regarded by courts and are usually upheld, as long as certain conditions are met (see below).
In Scotland postnups are legally binding and must be followed by the court.
When do you get a postnup?Unlike the more widely known prenuptual agreement, or prenup, a postnup is agreed upon after a couple has married or entered a civil partnership. If you are not yet married, you will need to sign a prenup instead.
There is no perfect time to sign a postnup, it can be created at any point during a marriage.
It is recommended that a couple does not create a postnup whilst going through relationship difficulties as the added emotion may make it difficult to agree on fair and balanced terms.
You may be advised to sign a postnup if you already have a prenup, but your solicitor for whatever reason believes that it is not strong enough to be used in a possible divorce hearing, or if some of your circumstances have since changed.
One of the best times to sign a postnup would be after a break up and then a reconciliation of the marriage/civil-partnership. This would act as, as a safeguard against any future breakdown of the marriage.
How do you get a postnup?You can acquire a postnup in a number of different ways.
There are many online services that can create a postnup agreement, these generally have lower costs and can range from online templates to full legal services. The most common and reliable way to create a postnup is to contact a solicitor, ideally one that specialises in family law.
In order for the postnup to be recognized in a UK court you must remember to meet the following stipulations:
-Both parties must have entered into the agreement willingly
-Both parties must have sought independent legal advice from a qualified solicitor
This avoids any accusation that one party was forced or co-opted into signing the postnup
-There should be full disclosure about all financial assets
This makes the agreement open and honest, making it more trustworthy to a court. Disclosure should begin before the agreement is signed
-No children you may have are subjected to prejudice within then agreement
This deems to help ensure your child has all their legal and ethical requirements
-A solicitor has deemed the agreement to be fair
What should be included?There are no legal requirements for what to include in a postnup, you can divide up any assets you wish. This can be anything from money to property to furniture.
If you’re not sure what you would like to include, you can read our guide on what to include in a postnup.
How much does it cost?The cost to create a postnup in the UK can vary depending on where you go to get one. If you choose to use a solicitor as is recommended, the fees can be anywhere from £1,000 up to £10,000 depending on the solicitor you use and the complexity of the case. This will include VAT and expenses.
Postnup vs prenupAs you can see, there is very little difference between the postnup and prenup, aside from the fact that one is signed before the marriage/civil-partnership and one is signed during.
The postnuptual agreement is generally signed by couples whose circumstances have changed over the course of the marriage and now have assets they wish to protect in the event of a divorce. A prenup is signed based on coupleshaving assets they wish to protect before a marriage or union has taken place.