One in five couples now sign a pre-nup agreement before marriage – up from 1 in 50 four decades ago
- New research suggests around 20% of couples sign a pre-nuptial agreement
- Wealthier couples are most likely to set out how their assets would be divided
- Study found pre-nups made splits less likely during first decade of marriage
They were once the preserve of the rich and famous, but nowadays one in five couples sign a pre-nuptial agreement before marrying.
New research suggests around 20 per cent of those who have tied the knot since 2000 have put arrangements about their finances in place before walking down the aisle – up from just 1.5 per cent 40 years ago.
Wealthier couples are, perhaps unsurprisingly, most likely to set out how their assets would be divided should their marriage fail.
Around 44 per cent of those in managerial, administrative or professional jobs said they had a pre-nup, compared to just 18 per cent of mid-level managers, skilled and semi-skilled workers.
New research suggests around 20% of couples sign a pre-nuptial agreement before marrying, with wealthier couples most likely to set out how their assets would be divided (stock image)
Harry Benson, research director for the Marriage Foundation which commissioned the study, said: ‘Pre-nups are no longer a legal curiosity or quirk associated with the mega-rich and famous but appear to be becoming an integral part of getting married for large numbers of couples. This seems particularly true for high earners and where there might be substantial assets before the start of the relationship.’
Marriage Foundation founder Sir Paul Coleridge suggested the rise of pre-nups was partly due to couples marrying later in life when they had already accumulated substantial assets individually.
‘With the increasing age at which couples marry, either for the first or second time, it is more likely that one or other will have established wealth which they feel they want to protect,’ he said.
The study of 2,000 adults by polling company Savanta ComRes found evidence that far from increasing the chance of divorce, pre-nups actually made splits less likely during the first decade of marriage.
Sir Paul said: ‘Couples who take time to confront potentially tricky financial or other issues before they marry are less likely to be derailed by them if and when they arise.’
Among those reported to have signed pre-nups, Kim Kardashian is said to be in line receive $1 million (£730m) for every year she was married to Kanye West (pictured together in 2020)
Pre-nuptual agreements are not legally binding in the UK, but courts tend to take them into account when deciding on disputed financial agreements.
Silvia Devecchi, of Vardags family law firm, said she had ‘absolutely’ seen an increase in the use of pre-nups, adding: ‘We now see them in many more situations, not just when you have a wealthy party and a party that wasn’t wealthy. You see people both wanting to protect their wealth. Divorce is also no longer as stigmatised and therefore you can have a frank conversation about what will happen to your assets should you separate.’
Among those reported to have signed pre-nups are Kim Kardashian, who is said to be in line receive $1 million (£730 million) for every year she was married to Kanye West. However, Amazon’s chief Jeff Bezos was not believed to have had a pre-nup with his wife MacKenzie when they split in 2019, despite being worth £100 billion.