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Pre-nuptial agreements – parents should insist?

As summer approaches, we are entering the busiest few months for people getting married no doubt hoping that the sun, along with their guests, will adorn a hat and come out to play. By now, wedding planning will be in full swing for the soon-to-be newlyweds and their parents across, but how many of these couples are including a pre-nuptial agreement as part of their planning? And, should parents insist that one is drawn up, particularly if they are helping the couple financially?

A string of high profile celebrity divorces has demonstrated that it can all get very messy. Paul McCartney did not enter into a pre-nuptial agreement and the whole world saw the divorce proceedings played out in the media spotlight. Most recently the much-loved ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ star, Johnny Depp, is also reported to be without a pre-nup and his wife of 15 months, Amber Heard, has filed for a divorce and is seeking spousal support. Without a pre-nup, under Californian law, Heard is guaranteed to receive at least 50 per cent of the increase in their combined wealth during the marriage, which is reported to be anywhere between $15-20 million.

Raising the subject of a pre-nuptial agreement is a delicate matter at a time when you are promising to love each other for ever. When the ‘Crazy Stupid Love’ singer, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (formerly Cole) married her second husband in 2014, she claimed that pre-nups were ‘disgusting’. There are now reports that difficulties have arisen during the divorce concerning the separation of assets, and which could have been avoided if the parties had entered into a pre-nup.

One way to ensure that a pre-nuptial agreement is discussed, is for one or both sets of parents to insist that one is drawn up. This has long been common in families where significant wealth will be inherited, and helps to ensure a civilised separation if there is a relationship breakdown.

Stephen Talbot, an experienced family solicitor in the City of London notes that ‘More and more families are seeing the wisdom of insisting on a prenuptial agreement, particularly where they are passing on shares in a business or helping their children onto the property ladder with a financial contribution. This is particularly common on London now when few young people can get onto the property ladder without financial assistance from their parents.”

A pre-nuptial agreement will be taken into account by a court in the event of divorce and can help to limit disputes over money matters. An experienced solicitor will guide the couple through any delicate discussions to facilitate agreement about how finances and assets would be shared in the event of separation. This can be particularly useful if you are bringing assets into the marriage, have pre-acquired wealth or children from another relationship.

Based near based near Liverpool Street, London E1, Miles & Partners Solicitors specialise in family law, and have extensive experience of prenuptial agreements, divorce or separation and the negotiation of financial settlements.

For a confidential discussion, contact Michelle Uppal at

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.