Post-nuptial agreements arrive at Ambridge

Posted on Tuesday June 25, 2019

Jim Richards

Shock news, the Archers are up to speed with family law and the management of assets.

Listeners may not realise, but following the marriage of errant son Tom Archer, Pat Archer is a very savvy mother-in-law. In last night’s episode, we learn that due to her concerns at the fragile marriage of her last born (following a whirlwind romance, Tom married Natasha earlier this year), Pat is worried.

She raises concerns as to what would happen if the marriage ended and the “mayhem” this could cause as Tom is a part owner of Bridge Farm. Would the farm end up being sold- she opines- citing the bitter experience of another divorcing couple who were forced to sell up.

Clearly, Pat has been researching English family law. She suggests to husband Tony that they should speak to their son about a contract to be drawn up by lawyers to regulate the situation- a post-nuptial agreement. Listeners will recall that one of the leading cases in English financial remedy law, White v White, involved a farming case.

Boom! You can hear the explosion across Borsetshire as Natasha rails against this and poor Tom leaps to her defence (regular listeners will know that Natasha is somewhat casual with money and left Tom for a month very recently).

But what of the law and can this happen in practice?  While pre-nuptial agreements have had more publicity in recent years, many people (farmers aside), are unaware that this is something that can be done following the marriage.

Post-nuptial agreements work in a similar way to their pre-nuptial big sisters; there must be advice, disclosure and a lack of duress. But in the same way that a pre-nuptial agreement, properly drafted and advised upon can be of “magnetic” importance to a Judge in the event the marriage ends, so too can post-nuptial agreements. Post-nuptial agreements can and do allow parties to a marriage to regulate their financial affairs in the same way as a pre-nuptial agreement.

As always, expert legal advice can make the difference between greater certainty and predictability of outcome and an agreement which doesn’t hold water.

If you would like to know more about this and whether a post-nuptial agreement may be appropriate for you, please contact Jim Richards or one of the family team at Mackrell Turner and Garrett.