Proposing This Valentine’s Day? Why You Need a Prenup
Living in London and planning on popping the question? Make sure you don’t just put a ring on their finger; put their signature on a prenup.
London is officially the divorce capital of the world; not just because of the UK’s 42% divorce rate, but because divorce courts in London favour the spouse with less earning potential, which is usually the woman. With this in mind, rather than being regarded as something unromantic and mercenary, prenups should be something as essential as a homeowner’s house insurance.
It may not be the most popular day, but a solid 12% of respondents to a survey still thought that Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year to pop the question. But would talking about a prenuptial agreement kill the romance faster than Cupid can shoot it out of the air with his bow and arrow? We explore exactly why a prenup is an essential, and how to introduce the topic in a way that ensures no-one gets hurt or offended.
Is a Prenup Legally Enforceable?
If you look up prenups on the internet, there are some very conflicting opinions about how to get one and what to put in them. Since lifestyle clauses have become more popular, some border more on guidelines or an agreement about how your marriage will work. While prenups are not legally binding, the court has said they’re of “decisive weight” and “magnetic importance.”
You can find prenuptial agreement templates on the internet, but this is a quick way to find yourself caught up in a lot of legal terms and risk missing something you don’t understand. Use the legal 500 family law list of London divorce lawyers to find a divorce lawyer in London, and make sure your partner is represented by a different lawyer, just to keep things clean. With the eye of a skilled professional, you’re sure to be able to draw up a fair contract that you can both agree on. Get advice about your prenup as soon as possible, as it should be finalised a month before your wedding.
Isn’t it Only In-Laws Who Want Prenups?
Sex and the City fans might remember the moment where Charlotte is totally shocked by the mother of her fiance, Trey, insisting on her signing a prenup. It’s sprung on her pretty late into the wedding procedure, which is considered bad form: it’s much better to be upfront about these things straight away. Was Trey’s mother, Bunny, totally wrong in insisting quite so forcefully that Charlotte sign?
It’s certainly true that parents can be overbearing and have too many opinions sometimes, especially about who we plan to marry, but considering how fast Trey and Charlotte’s marriage failed, she had a point — and your mother might, too. When we’re caught up in the love haze of becoming engaged and planning a wedding, that haze clouds our decision-making abilities. It would be wonderful if love lasted forever, but realistically, a lot of the time, it doesn’t.
Those closest to you who care about you most — often your parents — might just be trying to protect you when they suggest you get a prenup. Before you dismiss their request as them not liking your future husband or wife-to-be, think of it more as them trying to insure and protect you and the assets that you and they have worked for.
How Do I Ask My Fiance/Fiancee For One?
Especially in the UK, no-one wants to seem like they don’t believe in a happy ending. As stated above, though, a prenup should be approached like insurance. No one knows what’s going to happen in the future and, like home insurance, you could quite literally end up out in the cold on the street. Some great tips for broaching the topic of a prenup are to suggest it, rather than simply asking for one. Utilise ‘I’ feelings to make yourself heard and air your fears, and make sure you listen to your partner’s response. For example: “I worry I’ll be left with nothing if this marriage doesn’t last”, “I really value my financial independence”, “I want something that we agree on now when we love each other, so if something does happen we can still be friends”.
Make sure you state things with love, being careful not to accuse and indicate that there might be flaws in the relationship. If things start spiralling into an argument, take time to cool off. If you really can’t decide on what to do, try a mediator or a divorce lawyer in London to help you both talk things through.
What If We Just Don’t Get Married?
If you think this can all be avoided by choosing not to get married, think again. If you’re cohabiting, own joint property or have lived together for a certain amount of time and have children together, you’re both entitled to your share. Just because you’re not legally married, doesn’t give one or the other of you the right to just walk away if you’ve been in a serious relationship for a significant amount of time and have shared assets and lives.
With the rise in cohabitation of unmarried couples, it’s important to realise that you still have to be careful about your legal rights and assets. Cohabitation agreements are becoming increasingly popular and are a good way to avoid future court battles if you’re thinking of moving in together. Make sure to consult London divorce lawyers from the legal 500 family law section if you’re considering drawing up an agreement, so that you can both be sure of your rights if a split does happen.
With the right intentions and approach, creating a prenup is an easy decision that should be mandatory when tieing the knot. Whether you propose this Valentine’s Day, or save the question for a different month, make sure you take the steps needed to insure that you both enter your future married life with peace of mind.