Who would have thought that the Radio 4 series, The Archers, would tackle the topic of postnuptial agreements?

The long running drama series recently raised the subject of the post nuptial agreement head on. It is perhaps not surprising that the writers of the Archers thought the sometimes difficult conversation about a postnuptial agreement was suitable script material. After all, in recent instalments of the radio soap, a variety of family law areas have been explored, including domestic violence and surrogacy.

So how do you get postnuptial agreements into a radio programme that has been on the air since the early 1950s? Simple, the scriptwriters got the mother to raise it. It is a classic case for a postnuptial agreement, namely:

  • A family farm owned by the husband and his family prior to marriage;
  • A husband and wife in business together;
  • A speedy courtship and quick marriage so the fear is that the husband and wife do not know one another as well as if they had been in a long-term relationship.

We should not forget that probably the most common reason for raising the topic of a postnuptial agreement is a relative’s instinct and gut view that a postnuptial agreement would be a sound idea. It is often the case that the relative does not have any specific reason for worry but simply that they care enough to raise the topic of a postnuptial agreement.

Manchester divorce solicitors tend to find that in addition to caring relatives of a husband or wife, professional advisors (such as accountants, financial advisors or private client and will solicitors) will suggest that some thought is given to signing a postnuptial agreement.

 What is a postnuptial agreement?

A postnuptial agreement is rather like a prenuptial agreement. The big difference is that it is signed after the marriage has taken place, rather than before. 

The purpose of the postnuptial agreement is to record how your property will be divided if you separate from your husband or wife. 

A postnuptial agreement can be as simple or a complex as a husband or wife wants. For example, the postnuptial agreement can simply ring fence a specific asset such as:

  • The family farm;
  • A husband and wife’s respective inheritances (even if the money has not been received yet);
  • Shares in a family business ( or the sale proceeds if the business is sold);
  • Pre-marriage owned assets (this may be particularly relevant where a husband or wife has children from a prior relationship).

If an asset is ring fenced then it means that the agreement says a spouse cannot make a financial claim against that asset if the couple later separate or divorce. 

Postnuptial agreements can be more complex than simply ring fencing a specific asset. What should go in the postnuptial agreement in the particular circumstances of a husband or wife is all down to their priorities and specific legal advice tailored to the couple’s needs and family situation.

For information about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements or any other type of relationship agreement then please call Robin Charrot on +44 (0) 1477 464020 or contact him by email at robin@evolvefamilylaw.co.uk