Many countries make it a condition of marriage to confirm how the assets should be dealt with if the relationship breaks down. Maybe we should follow suit. Baroness Deech thinks so and believes that these should be compulsory and has called for reform.
Prenuptial agreements are an ideal way to record how assets should be dealt with following the breakdown of a marriage.
While they aren’t legally binding they can be given significant weight when looking at how to divide the assets if they have been freely entered into without pressure.
Each individual also needs to disclose their financial circumstances so both parties are aware of the others position. While this is a condition of a properly drafted prenuptial agreement it doesn’t sound like a bad idea in more general terms.
It may be reassuring to understand the financial circumstances of the person you are about to enter into a committed relationship with.
You wouldn’t invest in a company without doing due diligence, so why should a marriage or civil partnership be any different, given it is a major financial contract? Some basic due diligence at the very least would make sense.
In summary while the legislation in the area of relationship breakdown may be considered by some to be out of date, there are ways to provide some certainty should the relationship come to an end.
Although prenuptial agreements aren’t legally binding, if they are entered into correctly they can be hugely influential. This could therefore avoid protracted court proceedings later down the line.
So maybe prenuptial agreements aren’t a bad idea and, if a marriage is truly based on love, there should be no problem with agreeing to sign up to such an agreement?
Hannah Field is senior associate at Russell-Cooke