A post-nuptial agreement, also known as a postnup, is a legal contract created by two people who are considering marrying each other. It details the division of assets and finances in the event of separation, divorce or death of a spouse. Postnups are becoming increasingly common for couples looking to protect their interests should their relationship break down in the future.
This article examines four key factors you should weigh up when considering whether to create a postnup with your spouse.
1. Protecting Assets You Brought into the Marriage
One of the main reasons couples create postnups is to protect assets they owned before getting married. This includes property, businesses, investments, inheritances, and trust funds. Without a postnup, everything is considered marital property. A postnup allows you to keep premarital assets separate if you split. You can specify exactly which assets you want to retain individual ownership of. This prevents battles over dividing substantial pre-existing wealth.
2. Clarifying Financial Rights and Responsibilities
Spouses may have very different attitudes and spending habits when it comes to money. This can cause problems later on. A postnup is a chance to mutually agree on financial rights and obligations. For example, you can specify who is responsible for certain debts or bills. You can agree on how joint accounts will be used and managed. Clarifying these issues upfront prevents confusion and upset further down the line.
3. Avoiding Messy Fights If You Divorce
No one likes to think about divorce when in a happy relationship with a wedding on the way. However, having a postnup in place makes things much cleaner and less contentious if you do separate. All the complicated financial details have already been worked out. Without a postnup, divorce negotiations over property and money can quickly turn nasty. Emotions run high. A postnup helps minimise bitterness and complexity.
4. Specifying What Happens If Your Spouse Dies
A postnup can detail exactly what the surviving spouse is entitled to for inheritance. This ensures assets pass to children from a previous marriage if that is your wish. It also prevents disputes between relatives. Again, it’s not romantic, but planning for inheritance makes a difficult time easier on loved ones later. A postnup provides legal clarity on what happens if your spouse dies.
Getting Legal Advice
Before signing a postnup, it’s essential that both spouses receive independent legal advice from experienced solicitors. There are reputable solicitors Hertfordshire that specialise in family law and postnuptial agreements. They will review the postnup terms to ensure they are fair and enforceable. This avoids any accusations of coercion or lack of disclosure down the road. Don’t DIY a postnup – speak to solicitors to protect it legally.
As you can see, postnups allow couples to clarify finances, protect assets, avoid future conflicts, and plan inheritances in case of divorce or death. There are good reasons to consider one but always get legal advice first. With proper counsel, a postnup gives both spouses peace of mind.