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The recent news surrounding the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the fact that they did not have a pre-nuptial agreement in place may have come as a surprise to many. But did you know that you can still create an arrangement following a marriage or civil partnership, known as a post-nuptial agreement?

What factors may influence a post-nuptial agreement?

There are many reasons why a couple may opt for a post-nuptial agreement. Below we cover some of the most common reasons.

Sufficient time

To increase the chance of pre-nuptial agreements being upheld in court, they should be agreed within a sufficient period of time prior to the marriage or civil partnership taking place. This is regarded to be at least 28 days beforehand to largely ensure that the agreement is entered into freely, willingly and that neither party is put under pressure or duress to sign the agreement. Therefore, couples may opt for a post-nuptial agreement when there isn’t sufficient time prior to the ceremony to make such an agreement.

Changing attitudes

At the time when a couple entered their marriage or civil partnership, pre-nuptial agreements may not have been as popular or perceived to be reserved for the rich and famous. With a change in society’s attitude towards pre-nuptial agreements, they may consider having a post-nuptial agreement put in place to be a sensible approach in case of the unfortunate event that their relationship breaks down.

Change in circumstances

Most commonly, people opt for a post-nuptial agreement when there is a change in their circumstances. This may be an increase in wealth through employment or inheritance.

Even if a couple has a pre-nuptial agreement in place, it may be necessary for them to consider a post-nuptial agreement to replace their pre-nuptial agreement following a change in circumstance, especially if they decide to have children. This is because the court will not uphold a pre-nuptial agreement which does not take the needs of their children into account. Therefore, to increase the chance of a court upholding the couples wishes, it is important for them to account for their children within the agreement.

Couples that enter into pre-nuptial agreements are also advised to enter into a post-nuptial agreement, even if it is in the exact same terms as the pre-nuptial agreement as this reinforces the couples agreement and intentions after the marriage has taken place.

If you would like further information on pre/post-nuptial agreements, talk to an expert in our Family Law team or complete the form below.

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