Family Law

News and Events

Marriage is........2nd time lucky, apparently; so why the pre-nup?!

View profile for Susan Howarth
  • Posted
  • Author

Because a pre-nup is much more than a Kanye West lyric!

The stats are in and they don’t lie.

According to data commissioned from ONS* by Marriage Foundation, second marriages are more likely to be successful than first marriages.

The good news? Compared to 45% of first time marriages ending in divorce, only 31% of second marriages are estimated to end in divorce.

The not so good news? 31% of second marriages are estimated to end in divorce – that’s more than a 1 in 4 chance that a second marriage will end in divorce.

Whilst these stats initially seem disheartening, they may not come as a huge surprise to anyone who’s been married and divorced before. And whilst life moves on, and love and marriage may well be on the cards again, this time it’s a little different.

Regardless of whether you ‘won’ or ‘lost’ first time round, divorce can be an incredibly long and painful process that is both emotionally and financially draining.

Experience tells you that love may not always last forever, so this time, it makes practical sense to put something in place that can both help minimise the time, pain and cost if things don’t work out.

That something is called a prenuptial agreement.

Who needs a prenup?

Many of us are a bit confused by “prenups”, but firstly consider how many of the following scenarios apply to you or your partner?

  1. You’ve been married and divorced before – been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

  2. You feel you ‘won’ but can see what could happen if you were ‘unprotected’.

  3. You feel you ‘lost’ – whether it be in terms of finances, assets or custody agreements in relation to your children.

  4. Your individual financial position is considerably greater coming into this new relationship than it was going into your first marriage e.g. career advancement, property, savings, inheritance, pension…etc. You may also have family heirlooms or sentimental assets that are important to you personally.

  5. You (both) have children from your first marriage and you’d like to ensure that certain assets are protected to ensure you have something to leave in your will to them.

What happens if a prenup isn’t in place?

In the absence of a prenup, once you re-marry, ALL assets from your first marriage will become matrimonial assets. This means that your personal assets could be available for distribution and/or division, during a second divorce. And although younger children (under 18) will receive provision in the event of a split, they may not get exactly what you wanted them to get. Additionally, grown-up children will not specifically be provided for at all.

Although a pre-nup isn’t currently legally binding in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, following a landmark ruling in 2010, the divorce courts DO take them into account.

In the case of Radmacher vs Granatino, in which a German heiress sought to protect her £100million inheritance in the event of her marriage breaking down, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of a pre-nuptial agreement the couple had previously signed and that it was legally binding.

Not just for the rich and famous

But a pre-nup is not just for the super-rich or famous. These days more and more of us with modest incomes and assets are proposing pre-nups before marriage.

Simply put, a pre-nup helps to secure both yours, your partner’s and your children’s future, and will bring you both some degree of certainty should the relationship break down.


To find out more, why not come to one of our FREE drop-in Family Law clinics or make a FREE half hour appointment with one of our Family Law solicitors. Contact our office on 01606 48777 for more details.


* The Office for National Statistics.

A pre-nup should be drawn up at least 21 days before the wedding, otherwise the courts tend to take the view that the closer to the wedding day the pre-nup is signed, the more likely it was that you may have been under pressure to sign. It is also important that both parties seek independent legal advice when drawing up a pre-nup.

This article has been written for your general information only and is not a detailed statement of the law. It should not be used as a substitute for specific legal advice. If you require specific legal advice please do not hesitate to contact us on 01606 48777.