One in five couples now sign a prenuptial agreement – up from 1 in 50 four decades ago

One in five couples now sign a prenuptial agreement – up from 1 in 50 four decades ago

  • New research suggests that about 20% of couples sign a prenuptial agreement
  • Wealthier couples are likely to indicate how their wealth would be distributed
  • Research found that pre-nups made splitting less likely during the first decade of marriage


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Once reserved for the rich and famous, today one in five couples sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married.

New research suggests that about 20 percent of those who have tied the knot since 2000 have made arrangements about their finances before going down the aisle — up from just 1.5 percent 40 years ago.

Wealthy couples, perhaps unsurprisingly, are the most likely to outline how their wealth would be divided if their marriage failed.

About 44 percent of those in managerial, administrative or professional jobs said they had a pre-nup, compared with just 18 percent of middle-management, skilled and semi-skilled workers.

New research suggests about 20% of couples sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married, with wealthier couples most likely to explain how their wealth would be distributed (stock image)

New research suggests about 20% of couples sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married, with wealthier couples most likely to explain how their wealth would be distributed (stock image)

Harry Benson, research director of the Marriage Foundation who commissioned the study, said: “Pre-nups are no longer a legal curiosity or quirk associated with the mega-rich and famous, but seem to be becoming an integral part of getting married for large numbers of. of couples. This seems to be especially true for those with high incomes and where there may be significant assets prior to the start of the relationship.”

The founder of the Marriage Foundation, Sir Paul Coleridge, suggested that the rise of pre-nups was due in part to couples getting married later in life when they had already built up a significant amount of wealth.

“With the increasing age at which couples get married, both for the first and the second time, it is more likely that one or the other has acquired wealth that they want to protect,” he said.

The study of 2,000 adults by polling agency Savanta ComRes found evidence that far from increasing the likelihood of divorce, it actually made the likelihood of divorce less likely during the first decade of marriage.

Sir Paul said: ‘Couples who take the time to deal with potentially difficult financial or other problems before getting married are less likely to be derailed by them if and when they arise.’

Among those who reportedly signed pre-nups, Kim Kardashian is said to be lining up to receive $1 million (£730 million) for every year she was married to Kanye West (pictured together in 2020)

Among those who reportedly signed pre-nups, Kim Kardashian is said to be lining up to receive $1 million (£730 million) for every year she was married to Kanye West (pictured together in 2020)

Among those who reportedly signed pre-nups, Kim Kardashian is said to be lining up to receive $1 million (£730 million) for every year she was married to Kanye West (pictured together in 2020)

Prenuptial agreements are not legally binding in the UK, but courts usually take them into account when making decisions on disputed financial agreements.

Silvia Devecchi, of Vardag’s family law firm, said she had “definitely” seen an increase in the use of pre-nups, adding: “We see them in a lot more situations now, not just when you have a rich party and a party that was not rich. You see people who both want to protect their wealth. Divorce is no longer stigmatized so much, so you can talk candidly about what happens to your assets if you break up.’

Among those who have reportedly signed pre-nups is Kim Kardashian, who would stand in line to receive $1 million (£730 million) for every year she was married to Kanye West. However, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos was believed not to have married his wife MacKenzie when they broke up in 2019, despite his being worth £100 billion.

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