Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
This is essentially a written contract signed by both parties, setting out the distribution of the parties’ finances and assets in the event that the marriage breaks down. It can guard against costly and protracted legal battles between husband and wife in future, preparing an agreement in advance may minimise the possibility of disagreement in future.
The difference between a pre-nuptial agreement and a post-nuptial agreement is the former is signed before marriage, and the latter signed during the marriage. Examples of post-nuptial agreement include separation agreements.
Although pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements are not strictly enforceable in Singapore, the Singapore Family Justice Courts do take them into consideration when determining what constitutes a fair and equitable distribution of matrimonial assets between the parties. In particular, the case law suggests that the Courts do take into consideration the terms of the pre-nuptial agreements as the reference point for the couple’s intention in dividing their matrimonial assets, especially when parties have both sought independent legal advice, made frank disclosure of their financial positions, the agreement was properly executed in accordance to the law, and fair to both parties.
In determining what assets are for division between the parties, the Courts would generally tend to pool the parties’ respective assets (whether in joint or sole names) and these would be classified as the matrimonial pool of assets. All assets (whether in joint or sole names) will form part of the matrimonial assets unless it falls within certain exceptions. Disputes can happen as parties disagree what should go into the pool.
A pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement would be useful to
(a) Protect any valuable family heirloom or assets or money you may have inherited;
(b) Protect any business assets or shares from being divisible as matrimonial assets.
(c) Preserving assets for your children from a previous relationship;
(d) Protect a partner who brings significantly greater assets into the marriage.
We have significant experience handling high net worth cases, and can provide the advice necessary to help you draft a pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreement that is individually tailored to your circumstances and protects your future. We are also able to advise on your current pre-nuptial agreement in the event of the breakdown of your marriage.