Pre-nups becoming the new norm for soon to be married couples27 Apr 2021 | Andrew Watson
Lawyers are seeing record numbers of couples signing pre-nuptial agreements this year as the country moves closer to a society where pre-nups are the norm and not just the preserve of celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.
It is just over ten years since a landmark Supreme Court judgment, Radmacher vs Granatino, found that pre-nups, though not legally binding, will likely be accepted by UK divorce courts if they meet the right criteria. Since then, they have grown in popularity for soon to be married couples who see the benefits of setting out how they would divide their assets in the event of a split.
2021 has seen London law firm Osbornes Law working on more prenuptial agreements than ever before, with a 50% increase compared to 2019.
Osbornes Law family law partner Andrew Watson says, “As a society we are on the road to pre-nuptial agreements becoming standard for couples with even modest assets. Since the courts clarified their standing in law ten years ago, we have seen year on year increases, with the UK following the lead of the US and most European countries where couples assume they will be signing a pre-nup before the big day.
“Pre-nups are particularly popular with couples where there is a large imbalance between partners’ earnings, couples where one partner is expecting to inherit wealth, and with older couples who are getting married for the second time, want to protect their children’s inheritance and potentially avoid some of the misery they went through divorcing their ex.”
“We are also seeing the influence from abroad, with those marrying partners from countries outside the UK finding their other-half expects them to enter into a pre-nup.”
Prenuptial agreements are drawn up before a couple marries, detailing how their assets would be split in the event of a divorce. They can cover pensions, property, other assets and potentially, spousal maintenance payments.
Couples can stipulate whether they will share pensions pots or keep their own, decide on who owns which property and how it would be split in the event of a divorce, and ring-fence any property or assets that the couple agree will not be part of the shared matrimonial assets.
Andrew says, “By stipulating who gets to keep which assets in the event of a divorce and what will be shared and in which proportions, couples can have peace of mind that they are protecting themselves. They can ensure inherited wealth will stay in the family, that they have the money they need to retire comfortably or if they have children, that they will not see their inheritance go to their parent’s new spouse.
“Unless both parties are independently very wealthy, I generally advise against stipulating potential spousal maintenance payments in the event of a divorce. These would be hugely dependent on the specific circumstances at the time of the split. The agreement might still stand five years after marriage, but it is unlikely anyone could accurately predict their likely financial needs further down the track, factoring in potential career changes or children.”
It is recommended that prenuptial agreements be reviewed in the event a couple have children or buy a new property, in order to ensure they cover the changed circumstances. The more a couple’s situation has changed since the original agreement was drawn up, the less influence such an agreement would have in the divorce courts.
Andrew says, “Conversations about what might happen in the event of a split are never going to be comfortable but putting a small amount of time and money into sorting out a pre-nup can make a future divorce more painless. It can save couples a small fortune when compared with going through contested financial proceedings, saves a great deal of time and hassle if they do split and offers the chance of a less acrimonious divorce.”
Share this article
Andrew Watson Partner
Contact the Family Law team today
For a free initial conversation call 020 7485 8811
Email us Send us an email and we’ll get back to you
Related InsightsVIEW ALL
Parenting Talk With Noël Janis-Norton
Osbornes Law are delighted to be hosting internationally known parenting expert, Noël Janis-Norton, who will be delivering the talk:...Read more
Unmarried couples who live together do not have the same legal protection as married couples and civil partners when they...Read more
What is legal parenthood and how is it...
This issue was in the news recently, when a married Oklahoma same-sex couple were in court over a dispute about...Read more
Judge ignores pre-nuptial agreement but factors in non-matrimonial...
Case Law One of the reasons I am still passionate about family law, after 20 years in the field, is that...Read more
What if my partner predeceases me before we...
A review of a recent case concerning consent during fertility treatment. When going through fertility treatment as a couple, it...Read more
Declaration of parentage after mistake at register office
Recently in the news has been the outcome of the case of Osborne & Anor v Cambridgeshire County Council  EWHC 1982 (...Read more
New strategy to make fertility treatment more accessible
In July 2022, the Department of Health for England released its strategy aimed at improving Women’s Health. While women represent 51%...Read more
Proposed Changes to Gamete Donor Anonymity Laws in...
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has proposed changes to the law surrounding gamete donor anonymity in the UK....Read more
Mediation or Arbitration: What’s best for me?
Few divorcing couples want to end up in court, which is why mediation and arbitration are faster and more effective...Read more
Naomi Angell, founder, celebrates Coram Children’s Legal...
Naomi Angell, Head of Osbornes’ Adoption, Surrogacy and Fertility Law Unit spoke, at the 40th birthday of the Coram Children’...Read more
Has my child been abducted?
My ex-partner has taken our child abroad without my consent – what should I do? In order for a parent to...Read more
Legal considerations in the surrogacy process
What Are My Surrogacy Options at Home and Abroad? When you’re considering surrogacy as an intended parent, you may...Read more
Birth parent fails to overturn adoption order
Most adoption applications go through smoothly and it is only in the minority of cases that birth parents seek to...Read more
Changes in Fertility Law Benefit Families
Following campaigning by those working in the fertility sector and public consultation in 2020, the Government announced on 6th September 2021 that...Read more
Pre-nups becoming the new norm for soon to...
Lawyers are seeing record numbers of couples signing pre-nuptial agreements this year as the country moves closer to a society...Read more
Contesting a prenuptial agreement
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are getting a divorce after nearly seven years of marriage. According to reports, Kim filed...Read more
Lockdown rush to cohabitation leaves couples lacking financial...
When the lockdown was announced many couples had to make a rushed decision to move in together or face months...Read more
Mediation by Zoom
At Osbornes, our Family Law mediations are in the main, conducted by Zoom during lockdown as our main office in...Read more
I’m living with an abusive partner during...
On 23 March 2020 the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced a national lockdown. The government implemented the most severe restrictions on public...Read more
London Council named as Judge lifts ruling
Haringey Council has been named in a case involving parents of a 14 year-old boy with cerebral palsy and his brother...Read more
Family Mediation by Zoom – the way forward?
Like most mediators I have had to embrace distanced or remote mediations. I have been using Zoom, a video conferencing...Read more
Osbornes Law case news: Naming Local Authorities – should...
A recent article written by the Transparency Project http://www.transparencyproject.org.uk/to-name-or-not-to-name-that-is-the-question/ discusses the question of whether Local...Read more
Supervised contact and Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has created a number of difficult challenges for separated families. The Government has been helpful in confirming...Read more
Expert Fertility Lawyer at Osbornes Represents Parents after...
Judgement was handed down today by Lord Justice Munby, president of the Family Division of The High Court in  EWHC 2273 (...Read more