Family Matters

Your monthly family law digest from Woolley & Co, Solicitors


May 2018

Can Prince Harry help us make 2018 the Year of the Pre-nup?

So Prince Harry has decided not to sign a pre-nup before marrying Meghan Markle, according to reports. He believes he doesn’t need to safeguard his estimated £30 million fortune because he is marrying Ms Markle for life – who herself is said to be worth £4 million and is on her second marriage.

In Brief

Can I sign a prenuptial agreement after I’m married?

This is a question we’re hearing from more and more couples. In some instances, it’s when we tell them they have left it too late to get a prenup before marriage. Whilst called something slightly different...
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How can the law help unmarried couples?

There have been calls for years now for the law to do more to help unmarried, cohabiting couples. When a couple marries, they immediately get certain legal rights and liabilities. So, for instance, their joint property and assets are split...
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Why do I need a family lawyer to get a divorce?

You would think that the answer to this question is obvious, wouldn’t you? To advise on the law of course, but it is not as simple as that. Whilst there is the obvious benefit of having proper legal...
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Child contact with non-resident parent - thinking practically

Trying to reach an agreement about child contact with non-resident parents, especially when the situation may feel raw, can be difficult. However, the main focus has to be what is in the best interests of the child, rather than what...
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What are the consequences of a delayed divorce?

Making the decision to split from a spouse can be one of the hardest things that many people will do. Once they have made the decision and set the wheels in motions there is a seemingly endless list of &ldquo...
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Good on him I hear you cry? Personally, I think this is a massive blow to those of us in family law devoted to pushing the cause of the pre-nup in safeguarding a person’s assets when they marry.

So let’s start a campaign to make 2018 the year of the pre-nup – and finally have an honest debate about the risks of getting married.

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show 42 percent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. Despite this, very few couples put “arrange pre-nup” on their “to-do” list when arranging the nuptials. They can pay out thousands on flowers, dresses, make-up, hairstyling, venue, food, drinks – but a pre-nup is a step too far. It is still seen as unromantic and expensive.

How do prenups work?

Just to recap, prepared correctly, a pre-nup sets out how a couple would like to split their assets on divorce. It must be properly drawn up by a lawyer and both sides must take legal advice before signing it.

The big benefit is it can save a lot of time, money and heartache if things do go wrong, as they do for almost half of married couples. Go back 40 years and divorce was still very much frowned upon if not quite a taboo. We have come a long way since then, as we have done with so many things. Think about having children out of wedlock for instance, or gay marriage. We still have yet to move far enough though on acceptance of pre-nups.

Discussions on pre-nups are not new. To be fair, the fact that Prince Harry even felt the need to comment on one does show that the idea is out there.  Pre-nups have been around for some time. They are very popular, routine even, in the United States and there are signs they have been growing in popularity here. Certainly, at Woolley & Co, we have seen a rise in enquiries about pre-nups over the last 18 months. However, that has not necessarily translated into people having a proper agreement drawn up.

Championing prenup's in the UK in 2018

Let’s try and champion the cause then in 2018 by really pushing the benefits and highlighting how easy it is to prepare a pre-nup?  Let’s have an honest conversation about marriage for once. It may not end well.  It simply doesn’t work for everyone, no matter how much you love each other when you marry, so maybe a prenuptial agreement is just a practical acknowledgement of an inevitable possibility. Our video (Talking to your fiancé about a prenuptial agreement) and infographic have been designed to help couples have the tricky conversion about pre-nups.

how to convince your partner you need a pre-nup infographic

I may even write to Prince Harry to tell him that ahead of his big day on May 19. After all, I’ll bet his mum never thought she would be divorcing when she walked down the aisle with the world watching her.

Andrew Woolley
Woolley& Co Family Solicitors


Image credit: By Mark Jones - Cropped from Flickr version:, CC BY 2.0, Link


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