Pre-nuptial agreements: wedding bells or alarm bells?

Entering into a marriage or civil partnership is one of life’s greatest events but is also big business; tens of thousands of pounds are spent by couples on celebrating their ‘big day’. And yet, in spite of being prepared to spend a small fortune on the ceremony, most enter into a life-long commitment with little or no regard for the financial consequences of their relationship breaking down.

Sadly, for every 10 marriages that take place in England there are five divorces. In Jersey, in 2011, one in five adults resident in Jersey had undergone a divorce or formal separation; in Guernsey over recent years, there have been half as many decrees of divorce issued as there have been marriage ceremonies.

Public policy deemed that it was wrong to agree financial provision to cover an eventual marriage breakdown at the outset of the marriage: paternalistic Victorians felt that this would discourage spouses from working at their marriage. Pre-nuptial agreements were rarely encountered in England unless they had been entered into overseas…

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