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Pre-nups should be as common as car insurance

Thursday September 10, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Pre-nuptial agreements should be as routinely taken out as house or car insurance, according to a leading East Anglia lawyer.

Family lawyer Nick Wiseman believes the stigma which still surrounds “pre-nups”, and living together agreements for unmarried couples, is leaving thousands of people each year out of pocket because they are not properly protecting themselves against potential problems further down the line.

And the lawyer, who has just joined family law specialist Woolley and Co, working from his base in Belton, Great Yarmouth, and covering clients across Norfolk and Suffolk, said more needs to be done to encourage people to take out these relationship insurance policies.

“We all have car insurance and house insurance, not because we expect to get into an accident or for the water tank to rupture, but because it is sensible “just in case”. That way, you are not left massively out of pocket if something does go wrong,” said Nick, who lives with his partner and her five-year-old daughter, as well as having a daughter of his own.

“To my mind, pre-nuptial or living together agreements are just the same sort of insurance. You don’t expect to have to bring one into play, but it is sensible to have just in case – and it is only a small one-off payment rather than a monthly premium!

“In this day and age, it is staggering that people still cling to the romantic notion that pre-nups shouldn’t be raised. With the increase in second and third marriages, there is more need now than ever for people to protect what is theirs for the future if the worst does happen. It can save thousands in legal fees because it helps people keep hold of what is important to them.”

Nick began his legal career more than 20 years ago, after studying at Great Yarmouth College and Norwich City College, qualifying as a legal executive and specialising in personal injury litigation before being offered the chance to work in the family law department of a local firm, which he felt better suited his character.

He joins Woolley & Co from a post as head of the family law department with an Ipswich firm.

“It is a unique area of law. You are dealing with people at a very difficult time in their lives when, because of a relationship break-up, it feels like their whole world is falling apart. You can’t tackle that like a bull in a China shop,” added Nick.

“You have to use a wide set of skills and have to have empathy. Clients then build a relationship with you, and come back to you in the future. People have to trust you.

“The way Woolley & Co operates is very forward-thinking, with partner-level lawyers working from home offices and around the needs of the client rather than tying them to high street legal office practices. It is a flexible approach and I am looking forward immensely to the challenges ahead.”

Nick, who enjoys scuba diving and playing football in his free time, deals with the complete range of family law issues, from divorce to property and pensions. He is a fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX). He can be contacted by calling 0845 680 2124.

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