Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements
If you have property and/or assets you would like to keep separate to ensure they do not become part of the financial settlement upon divorce, it is advisable to draft a pre or postnuptial agreement.
Our family lawyers have experience in drafting pre and postnuptial agreements in keeping with local Sharia law and the laws of England and Wales. Our family law team will take the time to understand your circumstances and advise as to how you can best protect your property and assets. If you are being requested to sign an agreement, we will advise you on the long-term consequences of the document and help you negotiate the most favourable terms for you.
Our UK qualified family lawyers are registered with the UK Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Dubai Legal Affairs Department. We are a fully digital law firm and are able to arrange video conferencing if this suits your needs. As a niche firm, we are highly respected in the region for our divorce and family law expertise.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract a couple enter into before getting married, which sets out each partner's rights and responsibilities concerning assets and liabilities. The agreement generally defines how real estate, income, debt, and inheritance will be dealt with upon divorce. In essence, a prenuptial agreement acts as a limit on the court's wide discretion to distribute property and assets based on need (under English law) or Sharia law (in the local courts).
What is a postnuptial agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement save for the fact that it is entered into after the marriage has taken place. A couple may choose to draft a postnuptial agreement if they are facing difficulties or a breakdown in communication and believe divorce may be an option in the future or one spouse comes into an inheritance or is gifted assets he or she wishes to keep separate.
Is a pre or postnuptial agreement legally enforceable?
Pre and postnuptial agreements can be created in the UAE and may be legally enforceable. They are increasingly being used as a tool to segregate pre-marital owned assets and other assets acquired during the course of the marriage such as inheritance.
Under English law, pre and postnuptial agreements are not technically enforceable; however, they will be upheld if certain conditions are met. This was confirmed in the Supreme Court case of Radmacher v Granatino (2010) where it was held that
“. the Court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement".
To increase the chances of a pre or postnuptial agreement being upheld by the local courts or in the UK, there should be evidence of the following:
- Both parties understand the agreement and its consequences.
- Both parties have received independent legal advice.
- Neither party was forced to sign the agreement.
- Both parties made full and frank disclosure of their assets and liabilities before the agreement was drafted.
- The terms of the agreement were "fair" at the time the contract was entered into.
It is imperative to obtain legal advice and assistance before drafting and entering into a pre or postnuptial agreement for use in the UAE. This is because if the agreement contradicts or conflicts with the local Sharia law, public policy or moral codes in the UAE, the local courts may refuse to enforce part or all of the document. Our team have the experience and knowledge of both the laws of England and Wales and local law to ensure your agreement is valid, and your assets are protected.
To book a consultation to discuss a pre or postnuptial agreement, please contact us: