Reported rise in couples wanting pre-nuptial agreements

Published: 13th May 2014

Family law firms and divorce solicitors across the country have reported a rise in the number of couples requesting pre-nuptial agreements following signs that they could soon become legally binding in the UK.

In some areas of the country it has been reported that enquires for pre-nuptial agreements have risen as much as 50%.

Pre-nuptial agreements allow couples, to decide in advance how they will split their assets in the event that their marriage breakdowns in the future. Pre-nuptial agreements carry a large amount of weight already and are used by courts in England and Wales when analysing all evidence in an individual case, but following the Law Commissions landmark report outlining a proposed reform to the divorce system, they could finally be granted legal status - as they are in Scotland and many other countries around the world.

Pre-nuptial agreements first came into prominence in 2010, following a Supreme Court ruling which found in favour of Katrin Radmacher, a German heiress who was allowed to keep her inherited fortune worth around £100 million on the basis of a pre-nuptial agreement.

The proposal to make pre-nuptial agreements legally binding has been widely supported by legal firms, however, there has been objection from a small minority, who fear that prenuptial agreements may undermine marriage.

Nonetheless, many continue to welcome the idea, particularly within the legal profession "Just like making a will, this is something that you probably know you should do but, for a number of reasons, don’t get round to before marriage or entering into a civil partnership. However, it is something to think about early in the wedding planning process."

The Law Commission also suggested a third type of nuptial agreement (alongside post and pre nuptial agreements) with a "qualifying nuptial agreement", which would allow couples to specify how they would divide their assets either before or during their marriage, but would allow them to move certain assets outside the agreement, for example one party's inheritance.

K J Smith Solicitors have many years of experience in preparing prenuptial agreements for couples who, should the worse happen, wish to protect their assets and finances in the future. For more information, please contact us today on 01491 630000 (Henley on Thames), 0118 418 1000 (Reading), 01753 325000 (Windsor), or 020 7070 0330 (Central London).

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