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Do you need a post nup ?

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Why post-nups can provide vital protection

Anthony Ball

By Antony Ball, Senior Associate at Keebles

A growing increase in South Yorkshire couples seeking post-nup agreements reflects their acceptance as a contract which provides protection and clarity.

The document, which can be drawn up any time after tying the knot or forming a civil partnership, details how assets and property should be split should couples divorce or separate – or if one partner dies.

Couples, particularly those over 50, set up these agreements for many reasons. They may have been unaware that pre-nups existed before they were married or may have been unable to arrange one.
Husbands and wives opt for a post-nup when circumstances, such as one partner standing to inherit property or money, change or if one of them is asset rich and concerned about protecting their share in any division of property.
We also find that planning for the future takes a higher priority for older couples who are affected by changes in personal finances and pension reforms which now allow the over 55’s to take their pension allowance as cash rather than as an annuity.
A post-nup makes it more likely that wives, who have stayed at home to bring up their family, are more likely to receive a share of their spouse’s pension. Men on low incomes or ‘house husbands’ whose partners are well paid career women can be similarly protected.

Although pre-nup and post-nups are still not legally binding, courts are increasingly taking them into consideration – as long as they have been drawn up properly and in a timely manner and signed without duress.

Before obtaining an agreement, couples are advised to discuss in depth what each wants from the contract, agreeing how they will split their joint assets and debts and taking into account any future income or likely gifts and inheritances.

If there is a dispute or points of difference, spouses and partners are advised to try to resolve them by mediation before signing on the dotted line.

For any agreement to stand up in court, both parties should obtain independent legal advice before going ahead with it. Reflecting their commitment to the contract, it will also demonstrate that their decisions are informed.

Just as a marriage evolves through the years, so does a couple’s financial responsibilities, assets and interests. Requesting a post-nuptial agreement does not have to be an indication that there is an issue in the marriage, but rather a well thought through decision that can provide protection, focus and reassurance.

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