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How to make a Postnuptial agreement (postnup)

A postnuptial agreement (also known as a 'postnup') is an agreement between two people after they have gotten married or entered into a civil partnership. It sets out the property and money that belong to each person before the marriage or civil partnership and clarifies what is intended to remain the property of that person after the marriage/civil partnership itself.

If you and your spouse or civil partner have assets which each of you would like to own as individuals rather than jointly, record these assets in a postnup. This will ensure that any assets (be it property, cash or heirlooms) owned before marriage or civil partnership will be owned by the individual and not jointly. This postmarital or post-civil agreement covers situations where both parties have taken independent legal advice.

Use this postnup if you:

  • have gotten married or entered into a civil partnership

  • both want to agree that assets owned separately will remain in separate names

  • both want to agree that neither of you will have any claim against the other for maintenance or support if the marriage or partnership breaks down

  • both agree to complete this agreement and have been honest about your finances and property

  • both have taken or will take independent legal advice before signing the agreement

This postnuptial agreement covers:

  • property and money owned individually by the spouses or civil partners that are to remain theirs if the marriage breaks down

  • an agreement that neither party will have any claim against the other for maintenance or support if the marriage or partnership breaks down

  • property acquired after the marriage or partnership will be divided as the couple agree or as ordered by a court

  • confirmation that the couple have entered into the agreement freely, and have taken or will take independent legal advice before signing the agreement

If you have gotten married or entered into a civil partnership and want to keep previously acquired assets, such as property separate then you can record this in a postnup. For more information, read our guides on Postnuptial agreements.

Yes - this document can be used for both marriages and civil partnerships.

Postnuptial agreements are not currently legally binding in England and Wales, but in most cases, the court will be persuaded to uphold a postnuptial agreement provided that certain safeguards are met. These include:

  • both parties receiving independent legal advice regarding the agreement before signing it

  • the full assets of each party being disclosed properly

  • there not being any undue pressure on either party to sign the agreement

  • there being no significant changes to the financial or family situation

  • the terms of the agreement being fair

In Scotland, postnuptial agreements are legally binding provided they are validly executed as a contract and are fair and reasonable at the time they are entered into. A postnuptial agreement is fair and reasonable if:

  • each party had sufficient time to fully consider and understand the terms of the agreement before entering into it

  • each party is aware of all information necessary to allow them to fully consider and understand the terms of the agreement

  • each party receives separate and independent legal advice before signing the agreement

  • neither party is subject to pressure or duress to sign the agreement against their will

For more information, read our guides on Postnuptial agreements.

Both of you should seek independent legal advice and prepare full disclosure of your respective financial positions before signing a postnuptial agreement. 

You must think carefully about the terms and make the agreement as precise, clear and detailed as possible. If you feel you need further advice before signing a postnuptial agreement, Ask a lawyer.

In the description of assets, both of you must disclose all of your previously acquired assets and you must not withhold any valuable possessions or goods. If you don't, the agreement may be invalid.

Any assets acquired after marriage or civil partnership (known as 'matrimonial property') will be divided by agreement or judicial determination should there be a breakdown of the marriage or civil partnership.

If you have already signed a Prenuptial (prenup) agreement, you do not typically need to sign a postnuptial agreement. However, if there are any concerns about the strength of a prenup (eg if it was only signed the day before the wedding), you may consider creating a postnup to reaffirm the terms of the prenup.

Postnups are also useful where there has been a change in the parties’ circumstances since the prenup was signed (eg an inheritance or career change) in order to revisit the terms agreed upon in the prenup.  

Postnups may also be considered by couples that have had relationship difficulties and want the marriage to continue with financial peace of mind.

Ask a lawyer for advice:

  • to take independent legal advice before entering into this agreement

  • if you have children

  • if you have unequal assets because there could be an argument that one party felt 'forced' into making the agreement (if both take independent legal advice this claim is unlikely to be successful)

  • if you wish to work out any maintenance payments in advance

Other names for Postnuptial agreement (postnup)

Post-nuptial agreement, Postnup, Post-nup.

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