Pre-nups becoming the new norm for soon to be married couples

27 Apr 2021 | Andrew Watson
married couple

Table of Contents

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

Contact

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

    1. parents with their child
      15.5.2024

      Understanding Parents Rights Over Their Children

      My ex-partner is telling me that I cannot see our children. Is this allowed? There is a common misconception that...

      Read more
    2. money
      13.5.2024

      Impact Of Extended Family Wealth On Divorce

      Can the Wealth of Extended Family Affect Your Divorce Outcomes? While there is no fundamental legal difference between a high-net-worth...

      Read more
    3. Living together
      3.5.2024

      Living In a Property Owned By Your Partner

      I live in a property owned by my partner – what are my rights if we are not married? There is...

      Read more
    4. Passover
      1.5.2024

      Spending Passover With Your Child Abroad

      Who should the Children spend time with over Passover, and where? With Passover coming to an end, you might be...

      Read more
    5. osbornes hampstead
      16.4.2024

      New Rules Guide Separating Couples Away From Court

      New guidance, if properly applied, could effectively compel couples to try anything but court as a way to resolve their...

      Read more
    6. kings cross station clock
      8.4.2024

      Les 8 principaux points à prendre en compte si vous ê...

      Si vous êtes un ressortissant français ayant des liens avec l’Angleterre et que vous envisagez de divorcer, les...

      Read more
    7. Perjury
      17.1.2024

      What Happens If You Lie in Family Court?

      Honesty is the backbone of the English court system.  Witnesses in court take an oath that they will tell the...

      Read more
    8. Hampstead Hill Gardens
      21.12.2023

      Financial Remedy Orders Explained

      It is common for disagreements to arise over the finances during a divorce, even if you are on good terms...

      Read more
    9. Final Order
      18.12.2023

      What is a Final Order?

      The introduction of no-fault divorces brought about a number of changes to the divorce process in England and Wales. One...

      Read more
    10. field of flowers
      14.12.2023

      What is Parental Alienation?

      Sometimes, a child may turn against one of their parents due to the other parent’s manipulation or influence. This...

      Read more
    11. two rings
      11.12.2023

      What is maintenance pending suit?

      Introduction to maintenance pending suits Divorce proceedings, especially long-drawn-out ones, can impose a financial burden on the financially weaker party....

      Read more
    12. divorced man with empty wallet
      4.12.2023

      My spouse is going bankrupt. Will it affect...

      Divorce and Bankruptcy In 2022, more than 1 in 10 businesses reported a moderate-to-severe risk of insolvency. More than one in five (22%) of...

      Read more
    13. separation agreement
      29.11.2023

      What is a Separation Agreement?

      A separation agreement is a document that can be prepared  when you want to stop living together as a couple,...

      Read more
    14. spousal maintenance
      28.11.2023

      What is Spousal Maintenance?

      Spousal Maintenance Spousal maintenance is a legal obligation to provide financial support to a former spouse after the marriage or...

      Read more
    15. most common reasons why couples get divorced
      25.11.2023

      The 6 Most Common Reasons Why Couples Get Divorced

      What are the most common reasons for divorce? Following the UK’s transition to a no-fault divorce system, couples no...

      Read more
    16. Coercive Control
      23.11.2023

      What is Coercive Control?

      Domestic abuse comes in many forms. When it involves a campaign of threats, intimidation and psychological manipulation, it’s known...

      Read more
    17. 17.11.2023

      Public Law Working Group Interim Report on Adoption...

      Time for change? A recent interim report has been published by the Public Law Working Group Adoption Sub-Group (‘the Group’)...

      Read more
    18. signing contract
      30.10.2023

      What is a Conditional Order?

      The introduction of no-fault divorces in England and Wales removed the need to assign blame for the breakdown of a...

      Read more
    19. man signing paperwork
      29.10.2023

      What is a consent order?

      Most divorcing couples agree on how their finances will be divided without going to court. A consent order is what...

      Read more
    20. britney spears
      22.8.2023

      Does Britney’s Spears Prenup Protect Her Assets?

      News has emerged of Britney’s marriage breakdown earlier this month when Sam Asghari filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences....

      Read more
    21. child maintenance
      16.8.2023

      Child Maintenance for High Earners

      How much should be paid? When separating or divorcing parents cannot agree the amount of child maintenance to be paid, (...

      Read more
    22. 25.7.2023

      Parental Conduct and Child Arrangements

      The Role of Family Dynamics in Child Arrangement Cases In proceedings involving children, the parents should consider the impact their...

      Read more
    23. two ladies talking
      28.6.2023

      Why It Is Important to Involve First Class...

      Prenups have historically have a bad reputation, but they are starting to lose the negative stigma and are now common...

      Read more
    24. 23.6.2023

      Children Proceedings Highlights Judicial Conduct

      Jonathan Jonas, a senior children lawyer at Osbornes Law was involved in the interesting case of K and L (Children:...

      Read more

    VIEW ALL