Do I really need a prenup?

Are you getting married and have assets you want to protect? Or have you been married before and are worried about going down the aisle again? Then have you thought about making a prenup?

More and more couples are making prenups before entering into marriage. Recently there has been a dramatic rise in the demand for prenups and, particularly, for second marriages. Recent research, carried out for the law firm Mishcon de Reya, found that 17% of men under 45 now have a prenuptial agreement.

Why are prenups becoming so popular?

High-profile divorces, such as McCartney and Mills, have brought prenups to the fore as now ordinary people are concerned about losing a large part of their assets in a settlement.

Partly this is because divorcees are more wary of getting married for a second time, plus they’re better off so they feel that they have more to lose. Adult children also suggest a prenup to protect their inheritance from their new step-parent.

Often couples use prenups if there is a disparity in wealth, say, if one partner earns a lot more than the other, or one partner has a house and the other doesn’t, or one partner has received an inheritance that they want to protect.

Want to make a prenup? Use our prenup download today and save £££s! 

Will a prenup protect your assets if your marriage gets into trouble?

Many people view making prenups as a waste of time and an unromantic thing to do, but although they are not officially legally binding, at present, they are a persuading factor if a case goes to court.

If both parties have taken legal advice, the prenup has been signed at least a month before the wedding, the finances have been disclosed and the contract is deemed fair by the judge, the prenup is likely to be seen as legally binding.

In America and most of Europe, prenups are legally binding, but in the UK we’re playing catch up. However, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court over the German paper industry heiress Katrin Radmacher and her husband has given greater legal status to prenuptial agreements in divorce cases.  

Plus the Law Commission, the government’s law reform watchdog, is looking at the circumstances in which courts should uphold prenups between those planning to marry or become civil partners.

The Law Commission aims to draw up a draft Bill by 2012, so prenups should be legally binding within the next couple of years.

Find out more about prenups becoming legally binding here.

Mike Hamlin, partner at law firm Slater Heelis Collier Littler, based in Sale, Greater Manchester, says that although prenups can be criticised for going against the traditional values of marriage, he believes that they simply address issues and protect the interests of both parties:

“Should the marriage end, there would be no need for bitter legal disputes over the dividing of assets” he said.

Assets that are acquired before the marriage and which have been disclosed have an increased chance of being protected if the marriage ends in divorce.

Want to make a prenup? Use our prenup download today and save £££s! 

What terms should you include in a prenup?

If you’re making a prenup, it’s advisable that you don’t hold assets in joint names. If you’re going to purchase property in joint names, it’s wise that you register the property as 'tenants in common' and that you specify each party's entitlement.

Find out more about how you should be buying property together here.

Remember that if you are planning to have children, it’s important that this is mentioned in the prenup because a child can change the parameters upon which the prenup was entered into. In fact, it's always wise to revise your prenup, should you have any children since the making of the prenup.

Read more on when you should revise your prenup here.

Want to make a prenup? Use our prenup download today and save £££s! 

With Lawpack’s prenup you can complete the legal form yourself before taking legal advice and save £££s in solicitor’s fees.


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Published on: October 25, 2010

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