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Prenups: a romance killer or common sense?

View profile for Susan Howarth
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Divided Opinion

In the US of A, where most things are arguably bigger, bolder and better, prenups are often the norm and simply considered to be sensible planning, much like an insurance policy.

But across the pond, here in the UK, if we even hear the word ‘prenup’, us Brits are prone to shifting uncomfortably in our seats, adopting a sceptical frown and sarcastically mumbling something like ‘and they say romance is dead?!’

Why the taboo?

Well, it seems the main reason stems from the stigma that’s historically surrounded prenups. That they suck all the love, romance and essence of marriage out of the relationship, or that they’re just for rich folks protecting themselves from gold diggers.

But, if you’ve been married before and divorced, you’ll know only too well that the initial loved-up giddiness doesn’t last forever, and that if the relationship does break down, the pain and heartbreak is significantly worsened by arguments over children, finances and assets.

The reality of a prenup

If you’ve decided to marry, re-marry or are discussing marriage, your relationship is likely to be in a great place which makes it an ideal time to discuss a prenup without heat or charged emotion.

In actual fact, a prenup creates the opportunity for an honest and open discussion about children, finance, assets and future goals, prior to saying ‘I do’.

Particularly in the instance of a second marriage, a prenup enables you both to provide specific provision for children from a first marriage, or for you to protect specific finances, property or assets that you’ve built up prior to your second marriage.

The key word here is specific.

What happens post-marriage?

Without a prenup, once you’re married, ALL collective assets become matrimonial assets and, unless specifically protected (by means of a prenup), are thrown into a single financial pot.

This means that, in the event of a split, a judge will decide how all assets and finances are to be divided and distributed. This non-exhaustive list includes properties, savings, investments, pensions, personal or sentimental assets, heirlooms, inheritance…etc.

Radmacher vs Granatino

Although prenups aren’t legally binding in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a landmark ruling in 2010 significantly changed that and the divorce courts now DO take prenups into account. For more detail on the Radmacher vs Granatino case, click HERE.

Dispell the myth

With second marriage divorce rates currently hovering above 30%*, it’s possible not probable that you may part ways before ‘til death us do part’.

With this in mind, a prenup really shouldn’t be seen as a taboo topic. There’s nothing remotely embarrassing or fearful about one. It’s not a romance killer, it’s simply a practical and sensible choice for both of you.

At SH&Co, we can help de-mystify the process and explain how a prenup helps to secure both yours, your partners and your children’s futures.

For a FREE half hour appointment with one of our Family Law solicitors, call us on 01606 48777.