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How to make a Postnuptial agreement (postnup)

For use in England and Wales only.

Create this postnuptial agreement after you have gotten married to set out how property will be owned.

Recently reviewed by Adnan Mahmood, Solicitor and Head of Legal, UK. 

This postnuptial agreement was last reviewed on 15 December 2022.

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 live in England or Wales

  • 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:

  • both parties’ details (eg names, addresses and where they are domiciled)

  • details of the relationship (eg when their relationship started, when they started living together and when they were married or entered into a civil partnership)

  • details of any children (ie children the parties have together or children they have from previous relationships)

  • details of any previous divorces

  • property and money owned individually by those getting married or entering into a civil partnership that is to remain theirs if the relationship breaks down

  • liabilities owed individually by those getting married or a civil partnership that is to remain theirs if the relationship 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

  • liabilities acquired after the marriage of partnership will be the responsibility of both parties

  • confirmation that the couple has entered into the agreement freely, and have each taken independent legal advice, including a certificate of independent specialist legal adviser and a relevant statement for both parties

If you would like for your postnup to include specific provisions (eg in relation to pensions and debts) not currently covered by the document, Ask a lawyer for further assistance.

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. However, 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

Postnuptial agreements which comply with these safeguards and conditions are known as ‘qualifying nuptial agreements’ and should be enforceable.

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.

You can use Rocket Lawyer’s independent legal advice service to fulfil the advice requirement for postnuptial agreements.

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. In the description of liabilities, you should clearly disclose all your liabilities (eg debts). 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.

Any liabilities acquired after marriage or civil partnership will be the responsibility of both parties. This will typically remain the case even after 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.

The certificate of independent specialist legal adviser (or ‘certificate of ILA’) confirms that independent legal advice was sought by the relevant party.

Schedule 3 contains two certificates of ILA - one for each party. The certificate of ILA should be completed and signed by each party’s independent legal adviser (ie solicitor or barrister) after they have provided the necessary advice.

The relevant statement confirms that each party has sought independent legal advice and understands the terms of the postnup and its effects.

Schedule 4 contains two relevant statements - one for each party. Each party should complete and sign their appropriate relevant statement after receiving legal advice on their postnup.

Ask a lawyer for advice:

  • to take independent legal advice before entering into this agreement 

  • 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)

  • want to set out that no party can attain any beneficial interest in property owned solely by one party

  • want to set out that, if any party incurs a liability against joint property without the consent of the other, they will be solely liable for that liability

  • have unequal assets, because there could be an argument that one party felt 'forced' into making the postnup 

  • want to work out any maintenance payments in advance

  • want to include a postnup end date

  • want to include specific provisions (eg for pensions or debts) not currently covered by this template document

  • or your spouse or civil partner are not resident in England or Wales (eg Scotland)

Other names for Postnuptial agreement (postnup)

Post-nuptial agreement, Postnup, Post-nup, Qualifying nuptial agreement, Qualifying postnuptial agreement.