Updating your nuptial agreement

When parties enter into a pre or post nuptial agreement, it is important to review and update the terms, particularly if there are significant changes in circumstances or specified time periods have passed. If a nuptial agreement is not updated and kept updated, it is likely that the court will not uphold the terms in any subsequent financial remedy proceedings.

Nuptial agreements need to be reviewed if an event takes place that would make the original agreement unfair. The following events are often considered the common triggers to update a nuptial agreement:

  1. The birth of a child
  2. Long term or terminal illness of one party
  3. Bankruptcy
  4. Loss of employment
  5. Receipt of inheritance
  6. New business
  7. sale of a business

The above is not an exhaustive list but gives a flavour of the type of significant changes that would warrant an update or review of a nuptial agreement.

The earlier a nuptial agreement is drafted the more need there is to review and update the agreement as the marriage continues. For example, a young couple who enter into a pre nuptial agreement are likely to experience more changes in their lifetime and their marriage than an older couple who have a post nuptial agreement.

The original agreement should always nevertheless include a provision stating that the terms will not terminate or invalid due to a lack of a review, despite any review clauses. Without this provision, any delay in reviewing and updating the nuptial agreement could render the entire document invalid.

The procedure for updating and review a nuptial agreement is similar to the procedure for entering into an entirely new agreement. It will still need to be signed and witnessed as a deed; both parties should take independent legal advice from a specialist family solicitor; both parties should be satisfied that they have provided one another with a clear picture of their finances and there should be no pressure on either party to sign the deed.

The overriding requirement is that the terms of the agreement must be fair. Nuptial agreements continue not to be legally binding in the UK although correctly, drafted, they can provide great weight and be relied upon heavily in any financial remedy proceedings.

If for any reason the parties cannot agree to the amendments or variations that are being suggested, then this must be recorded in the agreement together with the status of the original agreement.

Serving Bedford, Northampton and Milton Keynes, our lawyers can help you with your family law and divorce matters. Nuptial agreements can be highly complex and requires accurate drafting and legal advice to carry weight. If you need assistance in creating a nuptial agreement or updating it, contact us on 01234 889777 for a free consultation.

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