Once the preserve of celebrities and the super-rich, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are growing in popularity among couples in the UK, but is it something you would do?
According to the Co-op, while the majority of married couples (79%) do not have a prenuptial agreement the interest in them shows no sign of slowing. Business data reveals that pre-nup requests have increased by 70% in the past year (based on the first 6 months of 2022 vs the same period in 2023) showing a real shift in attitudes amongst Brits.
But at present, the majority of couples do not have them in place and the reasons behind this decision are varied and often quite heartwarming. The most common reasons for not having a prenuptial agreement include trust in one’s partner (50%) and not believing that divorce will ever be on the cards (27%).
It seems that love and trust still reign supreme for many couples when it comes to tying the knot. But with lots of marriages ending in divorce, are we perhaps being too optimistic and do we need to bring some realism should the worst actually happen?
On the flip side, postnuptial agreements are slowly but surely gaining popularity. The most common reasons for creating a post-nuptial agreement were wanting to put it on hold until after the wedding and coming into money through investments or inheritance (both 27%).
Among those who have a prenuptial agreement, the most common reasons for having one were being aware of future inheritance, giving both partners a say in asset division in the event of divorce, and savings held in bank accounts (all around 17%).
The average value of the assets included in prenups sits between £500,000-£600,000, which is a lot to put at risk of losing in comparison to the average cost of putting a prenup in place, which sits between just £1,000-£2,000.
Among married individuals who have a post-nup, the top reason for putting a postnuptial agreement in place was wanting to wait until after the wedding to begin the legal process (27%), whilst almost 17% said a change in circumstance in their relationship, such as adultery, was the key driver.
If you’re considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, here are five points to remember:
Be pragmatic – think of it as insurance, something you hope you’ll never need but is there just in case.
Be open – full and frank financial disclosure is key to an effective agreement.
Seek advice – get legal help to ensure the agreement is drafted correctly and you understand the implications.
Take your time – don’t rush into signing an agreement, especially if it’s a prenup.
Review – as time changes, so might your circumstances, so consider including a review clause in the agreement.
When breaking up it is often the splitting of things you have created together which become the major sticking points – and sources of strongest battles. Brits seem to be realising that it is better to have these discussions before a break up to protect each other… So while it might seem like a ‘celebrity’ thing or even ‘predicting’ the end of a marriage before it has begun… Is this something we can expect to see more of in the future and would you?
One person who has gone through this without a pre-nup is Denise Welch. Denise and Tim split and she is opening up about how the carving up of their shared assets made things harder – and is encouraging people to think about having these conversations sooner.