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Postnuptial Agreements
Property Settlements

Postnuptial agreements enable you to agree the financial consequences of any future divorce, so that you and your partner can get on with your lives . 
I can help negotiate with your spouse’s lawyers, whether they are represented by solicitors in Bristol or elsewhere in England.

What is a postnuptial agreement?

An agreement entered into after marriage or civil partnership that regulates the financial terms of separation, divorce or dissolution.  In the case of civil partners, they are sometimes referred to as post-civil partnership agreements or “post-cips”.

Are they legally binding?

If done properly, it is difficult to challenge the terms of a postnuptial agreement.  However, Postnups are not strictly legally binding.

Postnups are also considered where a couple has had relationship difficulties and want the marriage to continue with financial peace of mind.

In the case of NA v MA: FD 24 Nov 2006 a very wealthy Husband found that his Wife had committed adultery with his best friend. He pressured her to sign an agreement providing that she would receive a specified lump sum and annual payments if their marriage ended in divorce. She signed it because he insisted that she should do so if the marriage was to continue.
It was held that: ‘as the idea of an agreement evolved it hardened into a legal, post-nuptial agreement’. It was on this basis that H sought to have the agreement converted into an order of the court. When dealing with the law Baron J did not distinguish clearly between ante-nuptial, post-nuptial and separation agreements. She said: ‘It is an accepted fact that an agreement entered into between husband and wife does not oust the jurisdiction of this court. For many years, agreements between spouses were considered void for public policy reasons but this is no longer the case. In fact, over the years, pre-nuptial ‘contracts’ have become increasingly common place and are, I accept, much more likely to be accepted by these courts as governing what should occur between the parties when the prospective marriage comes to an end. That is, of course, subject to the discretion of the court and the application of a test of fairness/manifest unfairness. It may well be that Parliament will provide legislation but, until that occurs, current authority makes it clear that the agreements are not enforceable per se, although they can be persuasive (or definitive) depending upon the precise circumstances that lead to their completion.’
The judge went on to apply the law of undue influence, holding: ‘I am clear that, to overturn the agreement, I have to be satisfied that this wife’s will was overborne by her husband exercising undue pressure or influence over her. I am also clear that if I do not overturn the agreement per se, I still have to consider whether it is fair and should be approved so as to become a court order.’
She overturned the agreement on the ground of undue influence.

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