Changing Attitudes Mean Pre-Nups are no Longer for the Rich and Famous

12 Apr 2012

The firm says that the agreements are proving popular among couples who choose to get married later in life, people with longstanding private business interests, or for couples who have children from previous relationships and want to “ring fence” their inheritances from any divorce settlement.

And it adds that, as statistics show that one in three marriages in the UK ends in divorce, many couples view making a prenuptial agreement is a prudent, rather than depressing, option to consider in their pre-wedding plans. Fiona Rasmusen, partner at Gibson Kerr, said: “Pre-nuptial agreements have historically been viewed with a lot of caution and skepticism by some couples, as they were seen as an admission that you thought something was going to go wrong with your marriage.

Most people who were about to tie the knot just didn’t want to think that anything bad would happen in the future – so just wouldn’t even consider a prenup. “However, things are changing now and we’re seeing more people seriously thinking about making a prenuptial agreement as part of their wedding plans. They have become more socially acceptable and are now viewed as a sensible option to consider. “Many couples are getting married in later life, and they will often have individual business interests acquired before they became partners. They may also have children from another marriage or relationship, and these are all good reasons to consider a prenup – as the agreements can save you from a lengthy court battle if your marriage goes wrong down the line. “Recent stats also show that one in three marriages is likely to end in divorce, so it’s a sensible step to consider a pre-nuptial agreement. You may think that you’re admitting defeat but, in reality, you’re making a wise financial move to safeguard yourself if the worst happens.”

The firm advises couples to talk to each other about the option of making pre-nups well in advance of their wedding date, so they have plenty of time to decide if these agreements are right for their situation.Among the examples highlighted when pre-nups can be beneficial include: “ring-fencing” or preserving inherited wealth for future generations, safe-guarding any assets acquired before your marriage and protecting private business assets. Fiona added: “No-one likes to think about the worst case scenario when they’re planning their wedding and broaching the subject with your partner can be the hardest part in the whole process of making a pre-nup. However, by sitting down and discussing how the agreement will help protect both your assets, as well as avoiding uncertainty in the future, you will be able to highlight the benefits rather than the negatives.

“Remember that the earlier you discuss the subject, the better – and bear in mind that both parties have to be given the opportunity to take proper and full legal advice before signing. “If you think a pre nup is right for you, it is very important to make arrangements early so that things are not left to the last minute just before the wedding. A spouse who is asked to sign a pre nup at the last minute may be able to argue later that it was unfair due to the pressure of the situation. “Another important thing to remember is that you should not try to set up a pre-nup yourself. Although there are many websites offering knock-down rates for “DIY” pre-nups and it’s tempting to try and save money by trying to fill in the paperwork yourself – particularly if you have the expense of a wedding to think about – it is not worth the risk. “You shouldn’t fall for the cheap option when securing your future. Always get legal advice from an expert, who will be able to show you the correct way of drafting a prenuptial agreement. “A good family law firm will give you impartial advice on whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you and, if so, what the best way is to set one up.

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