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Prince Harry & Meghan Markle - did they or didn't they?

View profile for Victoria Poole
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The Royal Wedding - the knot was tied but was a prenup signed?

It was arguably the wedding of the year: a British Prince and an American actress, a real-life fairytale. And although this is Meghan Markle’s second marriage, if we’re to believe media reports over recent months, Prince Harry declined to sign a pre-nup prior to his wedding to Meghan Markle.

Second Time Lucky

As they start married life together, it seems the statistics are in their favour - data commissioned from the Office for National Statistics by Marriage Foundation indicates that second marriages are more likely to be successful than first marriages, which is great news for the happy couple.

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

But that’s still more than a 1 in 4 chance that a second marriage will end in divorce.

Happy Ever After?

We all want to believe in a happy ending, but those of us who, like Meghan, have been married and divorced before, won’t be surprised by these statistics.

And whilst life moves on, and love and marriage may well be on the cards again, the next time is often a little different.

Whilst you may not have the size of Harry and Meghan’s individual assets to protect (Harry has a reported £30million fortune and Meghan is worth an estimated £4million amassed from her successful acting career, gulp!), it’s likely that you’ll both be in stronger financial positions and will have amassed more assets that you individually bring to the party.

And this sadly means that you therefore have more ‘to lose’ if the fairytale ends.

Common sense, not romance-killer

This is precisely why a pre-nup (or pre-marital agreement) is a practical and respectful decision to make as a couple, together.

It 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 or third 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.

And, although prenups may not be legally enforceable in the UK, they are increasingly taken into account during divorce cases following a landmark ruling in 2010, in which the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of a pre-nuptial agreement the couple had previously signed.

No pre-nup?

Without a pre-nup in place, 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.

Not just for the rich and famous

You don’t have to be royalty or wealthy for a pre-nup to be a sensible decision – in today’s society, 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 specialist Family Law solicitors. Contact our office on 01606 48777 for more details.

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