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Bets on divorce date at the wedding?

View profile for Steven Payne
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Have you ever been to a wedding where bets were being made on when the couple would divorce?

Well believe it or not it does happen, and the most recent incredible example, reported in a well-known newspaper, being the groom's mother taking bets on when her son might divorce.

Sometimes marriages just do not last and have to end for one reason or another. In fact, a significant percentage, currently around 50%, of marriages now end in divorce. What people do not realise is that entering into a marriage means that you are making a full commitment with your finances, as well as everything else, irrespective of who owns what at the outset. Legally, once married all of these assets potentially become matrimonial assets and, unless specifically protected, they are thrown into a single financial pot.

It is therefore important to secure your finances before you marry. Prenuptial agreements ("pre-nups") can provide a measure of certainty and the means of protecting pre-marital assets, inheritance, and even existing family commitments such as arrangements for children from a previous marriage. The primary purpose of a “pre-nup” is to limit the potential claims on the wealth of one of the parties to the marriage.

So what is a prenuptial agreement? This is a document entered into before a marriage, in which a couple set out their rights to any property, debts, income and other assets purchased together or acquired individually, in the event that their marriage ends.

The current law is that a pre-nup does not remove the Court's jurisdiction and will not ‘automatically’ be upheld or enforced by an English or Welsh Court. The Courts do however take into account that a pre-nup was entered into and treat this as evidence of the parties' intentions to one another in the event of relationship breakdown. This means that potentially they would be able to save costly litigation fees over "who is entitled to what".

It is highly recommended that both parties take independent legal advice before entering into a pre-nup. This will ensure that the party with the most to lose understands the nature and implications of the agreement they are about to sign and avoiding any doubt that undue pressure was put on one party or the other to sign the agreement.

We would recommend that anyone contemplating marriage should consider whether they would benefit from a prenuptial agreement.

This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

Our Family Law Team will be happy to assist you with any Family Law issues. For a free initial consultation please telephone on 01245 228106 or email