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Pre & Post Nuptial Agreements

Glanvilles have highly skilled lawyers with many years of experience in drafting pre nuptial and post nuptial agreements. Our solicitors understand how important it is to ensure protection of assets the have been prior to the relationship.

A pre-nuptial agreement is a formal agreement entered into prior to a marriage or civil partnership which sets out who owns what at the time of marriage or civil partnership and how the couple envisage that those assets should be divided in the event of the breakdown of the relationship.

A post-nuptial agreement is exactly the same, but entered into after the marriage or civil partnership. Neither form of agreement is legally binding in England and Wales. However, following the recent landmark Supreme Court case of Radmacher (formerly Granatino) v Granatino [2010] UKSC 42, [2011]1 AC 534, the Court will now attach considerable weight to these agreements and will be persuaded by the terms agreed unless it can be proved that:

  • The agreement was not entered into freely by each party
  • The parties did not fully appreciate how the agreement would impact them at the time of signing it
  • It would be unfair to hold either party to the agreement.

How to ensure your pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement is upheld

Whist the Court does not have to uphold these agreements, it will be more likely to do so if the following steps are taken before entering an agreement:

  • Obtain independent legal advice – it is strongly recommended that each party to the agreement obtains independent legal advice from a Family lawyer who specialises in pre-nuptial agreements and post-nuptial agreements prior to signing. This helps to show that you both understood the implications of the agreement when entering into it
  • Full and frank financial disclosure – complete disclosure of your assets and income to your partner helps to show that you were both fully aware of the financial implications of the agreement. However, it should be noted that even where one person is indifferent to the particular details of the other's assets and does not therefore insist upon full disclosure, the agreement may still be considered by the Court even though there was not full disclosure
  • Void allegations of duress or undue influence – the agreement must be entered into freely by both of you and there should be no evidence of duress i.e. force or undue pressure before entering into the agreement. A usual safeguard against allegations of emotional pressure is that pre-nuptial agreements should be entered into at least 21 days before the marriage
  • Ensure the agreement is realistic and fair - if the pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement is weighted too far in favour of one person, there is less chance of it being upheld as reasonable by the Court on divorce or dissolution.
  • Provide for future changes - whilst every eventuality cannot be catered for, some changes in lifestyle or circumstances for example, the birth of a child, may reduce the chances of the Court upholding the agreement.