Q: My fiancé comes from a much less privileged background than me. My mother doesn’t like him and thinks he only asked me to marry him so that he can get a share of my inheritance when she dies. Now she wants me to persuade my fiancé to sign a pre-nup relinquishing all rights to any money I inherit. I must admit my mother’s nagging has made me think about the wisdom of protecting myself financially, but I didn’t think pre-nups were legally enforceable in this country. Can you confirm?
A: Pre-Nuptial Agreements are now more commonplace in the UK and there is some evidence to suggest that whilst they are, as you say, not legally binding, Divorce Courts are more likely these days to take notice of them when considering the financial settlement of a divorcing couple.
Case law suggests, however, that a Post-Nuptial Agreement is binding. A Post-Nuptial Agreement is a contract drawn up after a couple have married or entered into a civil partnership, laying out how their assets and property would be split in the event that they divorce, separate or die. If you already have a Pre-nup it can be converted to a Post-nup after you have ‘tied the knot’.
A post-Nuptial Agreement would typically include details about your assets and debts, payment of outstanding debts, income and expectations of gifts and/or inheritances, future income or gains, personally and jointly owned possessions, Wills, maintenance to be paid to your ex-partner on separation, how property would be split and such as life and medical insurance.
With a Post-Nuptial Agreement in place you can still change and update the terms of it in line with changes in your circumstances or wishes. The parties must have exchanged full and frank financial disclosure, had time to consider the proposals and had legal advice prior to entering into the agreement.