Family Matters

Your monthly family law digest from Woolley & Co, Solicitors


May 2018

Can I sign a prenuptial agreement after I’m married?

This is a question we’re hearing from more and more couples. In some instances, it’s when we tell them they have left it too late to get a prenup before marriage. Whilst called something slightly different there is an equivalent that can be prepared and signed after the marriage or civil ceremony has taken place – it’s called a post-nuptial agreement.

In Brief

Can Prince Harry help us make 2018 the Year of the Pre-nup?

So Prince Harry has decided not to sign a pre-nup before marrying Meghan Markle, according to reports. He believes he doesn’t need to safeguard his estimated £30 million fortune because he is marrying Ms Markle for life ...
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How can the law help unmarried couples?

There have been calls for years now for the law to do more to help unmarried, cohabiting couples. When a couple marries, they immediately get certain legal rights and liabilities. So, for instance, their joint property and assets are split...
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Why do I need a family lawyer to get a divorce?

You would think that the answer to this question is obvious, wouldn’t you? To advise on the law of course, but it is not as simple as that. Whilst there is the obvious benefit of having proper legal...
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Child contact with non-resident parent - thinking practically

Trying to reach an agreement about child contact with non-resident parents, especially when the situation may feel raw, can be difficult. However, the main focus has to be what is in the best interests of the child, rather than what...
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What are the consequences of a delayed divorce?

Making the decision to split from a spouse can be one of the hardest things that many people will do. Once they have made the decision and set the wheels in motions there is a seemingly endless list of &ldquo...
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Following the case of McLeod v McLeod in 2008, the Privy Council ruled that a post-nuptial agreement signed after the marriage or civil partnership has taken place can, in the right circumstances, be legally binding in the same way as a prenuptial agreement.

The best way to ensure (as far as possible) that the agreement is legally binding is to follow these steps:

  • Have full and frank open disclosure of your property, assets and income with your spouse and to prepare a detailed schedule of these assets which is attached to the agreement
  • You should both obtain independent legal advice from your own solicitors
  • The agreement must not be manifestly unfair to one party or the other
  • Although you can set out in the agreement arrangement for the division of your property, assets and income you cannot use the agreement to exclude yourself from paying maintenance for any children in the future
  • Ensure there is a provision in the agreement for a review either at regular intervals during the marriage or at any important life change i.e. a child being born or a house move.

The agreement can cover one point (i.e. arrangements for a family business) or many points including:

  • division of property already owned by either party or jointly
  • division of property purchased after the signing of the agreement solely or jointly
  • any agreement for spousal maintenance
  • division of pension assets
  • payment of current or future debts held in sole names or jointly
  • arrangements for any gifts exchanged or received by either party from each other or from others
  • future inheritance that may be received by either party
  • what you will leave by Will to the other party
  • arrangements for life insurance

Like a prenup, a post-nuptial agreement is a written contract between parties who are already married.  It may seem like a very unromantic idea but having a post-nuptial agreement can save a lot of time, bad feeling and money if you were to separate or divorce in later years.

You should bear in mind that in England and Wales the divorce courts do not have to be bound by the terms of a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement as these agreements are not automatically legally binding.  However, the courts have in recent years started to take these agreements into consideration more and more often, depending on the circumstances of each individual case and provided they’ve been prepared in the right way.


Abby Smith
Family lawyer St Neots


Woolley & Co, Solicitors
Warwick Enterprise Park,
Warwick CV35 9EF
Call 0800 321 3832
Mobile 0330 330 3832
Outside UK +44 (0)1789 330310     

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