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The post-nup blues

21st March 2016

If you have ever regretted not getting a pre-nup, there may be a solution: the post-nuptial agreement offers the same protection of assets, but can be signed well after the wedding.

However, there is a darker element to the post-nup. While pre-nups may be common, especially among couples where one partner is substantially wealthier, post-nups are not yet standard practice. This means that if your partner suggests a post-nup, there is a much higher chance that he or she has already considered divorce.

Marilyn Stowe told The Telegraph, In some cases, may be a trap by one side to obtain a lower settlement.

One partner (usually the one with more financial assets) may suggest a post-nup as a way to salvage a rocky marriage, or to ensure an amicable split if a divorce were to occur. The other partner, already under considerable stress because of their marital issues, would agree in a last-ditch effort to save the marriage.

In some cases, the partner proposing the post-nup has no intentions of saving the marriage. He or she simply wishes to protect their assets before the inevitable divorce. Stowe calls this what a savvy spouse would do instead of trying to conceal assets before a split.

Last year William Hopkins, a property tycoon, encouraged his wife to sign a post-nuptial agreement. It entitled her to a share of his pension, two properties and a car, while Mr Hopkins was worth over £38 million.

Mrs Hopkins signed the agreement against the advice of legal counsel, saying that she wished to maintain a good relationship with her husband for the sake of their son.

After Mr Hopkins requested a divorce, Mrs Hopkins challenged the post-nup, claiming that she had been bullied into signing it. She requested a further £2 million.

Mr Hopkins offered his ex-wife a tenth of that sum, leading to a legal battle costing the couple nearly £760,000. The judge ruled that Mrs Hopkins had not been bullied, stating, I reject the wifes case that she was operating under any undue influence, duress or improper pressure when she entered into the post-nuptial settlement.

The Hopkins tale serves as a warning to those considering a post-nuptial agreement, which may simply be an agreement to forfeit what one is due when divorce looms.

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