Marry for love not money: get a prenup

THE couple that has been plastered across everything from tea towels to canvas shoes will be married tomorrow. While everyone celebrating will be wishing them a long and happy life together, many have speculated on whether or not the couple have signed – or should sign – a prenup. After all, William’s mother reportedly walked away with £17m when her marriage to Prince Charles broke down in 1996.

For better or worse, prenups are gaining credibility. Last year, there was a historic ruling in favour of them – prior to it the agreements had been largely ignored in English courts. Heiress Katrin Radmacher managed to uphold a prenup she signed with her ex-husband. Withers head of family law Julian Lipson says this means that a greater number of prenups are likely to be enforced from now on. England’s Law Commission, however, won’t be ruling on the matter until 2012, leaving those due to be married wondering what they should do. The answer is to get one. Radmacher’s lawyer believes that the decision means that contracts are now binding if deemed fair in the eyes of the court. While judging fairness is about as abstract as it comes, analysts believe that agreements made that seek to minimise the wealthier spouse’s exposure to financial risk rather than to remove the risk altogether will be granted. To some extent, this attitude already prevails. Partners found to be stashing cash away in trusts (notoriously difficult to split) prior to filing for divorce are often deemed out of order, says Andrew Kemp a financial planner at Radcliffe and Newlands. “It’s a very complicated area, anyone who wants to move money prior to filing for divorce needs to consult a lawyer.” To many couples, suggesting a prenup remains a tricky and uncomfortable matter. Radmacher, however, has branded it a romantic gesture: “There’s nothing more romantic than to say, ‘I love you and not your money.’” See how that one goes down with your partner.