A fifth of UK couples who had their first wedding since 2000 have a prenuptial agreement (or ‘pre-nup’). 

This latest research commissioned by The Marriage Foundation is thought to be the first of its kind which offers a real and genuine insight into the personal decisions that couples make about their relationship. How a couple decides to manage their financial affairs is completely private to them and trying to collect data on this is tricky to say the least – so it is understandable why we have absolutely no idea how popular pre-nups are (until now).

With many weddings having sadly been postponed due to the pandemic, if you have a 2022 wedding to look forward to then there is plenty of time to put any necessary plans in motion. Having time on your side is particularly helpful as one of the factors to consider when entering into a pre-nup is timing. It is important you do not leave it too late.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a document entered into before marriage that sets out how a couple’s assets will be divided should their relationship subsequently break down and/or set out arrangements for how to manage their finances and other practical matters during the marriage.  It is a type of relationship agreement – you can read more about what these are here.

Pre-nups are likely to be upheld in most cases so long as certain factors have been considered by the couple when entering into it. We can discuss this with you to ensure the right criteria is met.

Who can get a prenuptial agreement?

Anyone!  There is no need to qualify or be eligible to get a pre-nup, but there are certain situations which might motivate one or both future spouses to protect their wealth before tying the knot. For example:

1.       When one or both spouses have previously been married – they may wish to better plan in the event of a relationship breakdown and/or protect their assets for the benefit of any children from a previous relationship.

2.        Entering into a marriage when one spouse has significantly more wealth than the other which was built up prior to their relationship.

3.        When one or both spouses are expecting to receive significant wealth in the future such as through family inheritance, career progression or financial investment.

4.        Marrying later in life as this can increase the chance of 1 and 2 above becoming relevant.

    Interestingly, the Marriage Foundation research reveals that 44% of individuals in a higher managerial role had signed a pre-nup and the prevalence of pre-nups amongst couples in the other social groups were fairly evenly distributed.   This confirms that pre-nups are not just reserved for the super-rich and famous, which is a common misconception.

    Pre-nups provide greater clarity as to how assets may be divided upon separation and can therefore help avoid the unpredictability, potential legal costs and emotional stress often associated with an acrimonious separation.

    If you would like to discuss the benefits of having a pre-nuptial agreement or any other issues covered in this article please do not hesitate to contact the team – we would be happy to help.