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One in ten Brits regret not signing a pre-nuptial agreement

Liverpool law firm claims a three-fold increase in demand for pre-marital contracts

9 February 2016

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One in ten married Brits wish they had insisted their partner sign a pre-nuptial agreement, according to a new survey.

Once the preserve of the rich and famous, pre-nups are apparently enjoying an increase in popularity. Research commissioned by Liverpool-based solicitors Cassell Moore found that the public are keen to sign one but are often too 'nervous' to ask their intended.

A survey of 1,000 men and women from across England found 10.1 per cent of people regretted not signing a pre-nup, which saw the other partner 'refusing' to enter into a pre-marital contract as the biggest reason for not having one.

A further 2.2 per cent said they were too 'nervous' to ask their husband or wife. Meanwhile, 3 per cent said they wanted to get a pre-nup but simply didn't know how to go about arranging one.

Regionally, London was found to be the epicentre of pre-nup regret. Almost one in five men and women polled rued the decision not to sign one with 8.6 per cent admitting their partner had 'refused' to enter into it.

A further 5.4 per cent said they were 'too nervous' to raise the subject with their future spouse.

The South West of England was found to be the most trusting and contented region when it came to married bliss. Just 2.4 per cent of respondents regretted not having signed a pre-nup. Those in East Anglia - 39.8 per cent - were the happiest with not having a pre-nup.

However, the North West has emerged as a pre-nup hot-spot. Roughly one in 20 people have already entered-in to a contact before getting married.

John Owens, a family law specialist at Cassell Moore, said: 'We've recently seen a three-fold increase in demand for pre-marital agreements - more than we ever had before. In many instances it's in preparation for a second marriage, where it's a case of "once bitten, twice shy".

'People nowadays are just very conscious about the cost of a divorce. Everyone will have seen the recent high-profile cases in the press which involved huge legal sums being spent on legal fees.'

The data also highlighted a difference of opinion over pre-nups between the sexes, with women the more likely to want one. Overall, 12.7 per cent of women polled regretted not having one, while 7.2 per cent of men agreed.

Overall, 10.9 per cent said they did not regret shunning a pre-wedding contact as they find them to be 'unromantic.'

'There really is no "type" of person getting a pre-marital agreement as it stands today,' said Owens. 'We're seeing people from all backgrounds and walks of life, from working class families to wealthy businessmen.

'People are recognising that, at its simplest, a pre-marital agreement is just a sound financial platform.'

According to the Office for National Statistics, 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. It is also estimated that 34 per cent of marriages are expected to end in divorce by the 20th wedding anniversary.

In February 2014, The Law Commission report, 'Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements', recommended that pre-marital agreements should be considered legally binding.

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