Just in case it ends in tears


01 August, 2007

It may not be romantic, but when more than 40% of marriages end in divorce (in England and Wales 141,750 couples were divorced in 2005) and when one in five of all men and women seeking to end their marriage have already been through one divorce, it is perhaps not surprising that more and more people are seeking to safeguard their individual position by entering into a pre-nuptial agreement prior to marriage or securing protection by drawing up a post-nuptial agreement at a later time.

Says Judith Wright of local law firm Forbes Solicitors "Many a couple who have experienced an expensive and acrimonious divorce may wish they had previously given thought to setting down on paper their intentions regarding the ownership of assets. For couples who are already married, particularly those with children, drawing up a post-nuptial agreement which is agreed upon by both as being a fair statement of their wishes, can prevent a lot of potentially harmful stress in the event that the relationship turns sour. So the message is - give it consideration."

Research shows that 50% of women in the UK would wish to safeguard their property and cash-in on their assets if their marriage broke down. There is also an increasing tendency for couples to have separate accounts rather than pooling their finances.

So it isn't surprising that post-nuptial agreements are gaining in popularity. More than a third of married people agree that if they came into money they would consider having one in case of divorce. Pre-nuptial agreements are already becoming commonplace and although not enforceable in law, they are persuasive, depending on circumstances, when it comes to courts making decisions. The same could be said of post-nuptial agreements.

Judith added, "It is clear that a post-nuptial agreement can help couples avoid a bitter battle in the event of a divorce and lead to fairer settlements, provided they are given careful thought and made with the benefit of independent legal advice on both sides."

For more on this subject, please contact Judith Wright, Family Law Associate on 01772 220022.

Forbes family law team is made up of specialist family solicitors who offer advice on all areas of family law, including divorce, division of assets following marriage breakdown, cohabitee issues, ancillary relief, civil partnerships, children matters and change of name deeds. For further information on family / divorce issues please contact any member of our family law team.


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