What happens if I want to protect my hard-earned assets before I get married?

Nobody gets married to the person they love expecting things to go wrong. But unfortunately, 42 per cent of marriages in the UK will end in divorce. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that your hard-earned assets are protected in the event of a relationship breakdown.

Surjit Verdi, Associate and family law expert with Palmers Solicitors, says that couples thinking about tying the knot should pause for a second – and consider signing a pre-nuptial agreement first.

“A pre-nuptial agreement or ‘prenup’ enables couples to set out in writing exactly what will happen to their individual assets in the event of a permanent separation,” Surjit explains.

“Contrary to popular opinion, prenups are not just for Hollywood celebrities. These vital documents are growing increasingly popular in the UK – and with good reason – as divorce rates are on the rise and financial disagreements are one of the most common reasons divorce proceedings turn ugly,” she said.

Surjit pointed out that the Courts will typically divide any assets shared between a married couple equally during a divorce – and that it might be difficult for one party to prove that they have made a greater contribution to the couple’s shared assets during the course of their relationship if this has not been carefully considered beforehand.

If drafted at the earliest possible stage, a pre-nuptial agreement ensures that both parties know where they stand from the outset, thus considerably reducing the possibility of arguments, bitterness and lengthy Court battles later down the line, she said.

Following recent news that the average age for people marrying is on the rise, Surjit also stressed that pre-nuptial agreements were particularly important for older couples who are marrying – or even re-marrying – later in life.

“Individuals in this position are more likely to have accumulated assets prior to the relationship,” she said.

“Furthermore, those marrying for a second time are likely to want to protect any settlement received from their first marriage – and, if they have had bad experiences with divorce in the past, are more likely to want to avoid another potentially messy split.”

Surjit reminded readers that pre-nuptial agreements are not currently legally-binding under English law, but that they are quickly gaining weight in the Courts following recent landmark rulings.

For tailored advice in relation to pre-nuptial agreements, divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership, get in touch with Palmers today.