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.”
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
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
Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner dispute where their children...
Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas are reportedly at loggerheads over which country their two young daughters should grow up in....Read more
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
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
Family Dynamics: A Factor In Child Arrangements Cases
In proceedings involving children, the parents should consider the impact their behaviour towards each other may have on how the...Read more
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
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
Declaration of Trust for Property
If you are buying a property jointly, you may want to consider making a declaration of trust to record your...Read more
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
Cohabitation agreement solicitors
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
Severance of a Joint Tenancy
Severing a Joint Tenancy Normally, when couples buy a property together they do so as joint tenants. This means they...Read more
Tenants in Common vs Joint Tenants
Tenants in Common vs Joint Tenants: Which is best for buying a property together? When buying a property with someone...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
What are trusts of land? Property ownership is not always a straightforward legal issue, particularly where the parties are cohabitees...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
Do I need permission to take a child...
Can a mother take a child out of the country without father’s permission? For a parent to take their...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