Davis Blank Furniss Sees 55% Rise in Demand for Pre-nups but Warns of Risks to Clients

Davis Blank Furniss has reported a 55% rise in clients enquiring about prenuptial agreements over the past 12 months, but is warning potential users not to be complacent and to understand their potential pitfalls.

Although not legally binding in accordance with present legislation, the firm’s Family team says this isn’t putting clients off despite lawyers not being able to guarantee that the terms of a pre-nup will be mirrored in court orders.  A recent decision in the case of Radmacher v Granatino [2010] has, however, opened the door to pre-nups being upheld provided they are fair. Unsurprisingly, this has been another contributing factor in the upturn in demand for them.

It claims that clients need to be wary as a pre-nup could be a way for the financially dominant party to limit any damage they would otherwise suffer on divorce. The team also believes that it’s very important for family lawyers to ensure correct procedures are followed such as giving detailed written guidance; and carefully advising on the implications marriage has on finances and assets with, or without, a pre-nup being in place.

Anita Shepherd, head of Davis Blank Furniss’s Family team, commented: “Historically, pre-nups were considered ‘unromantic’ and a tool available only to celebrities and the super-rich.  However, they are now increasingly being used by a broader range of couples including those earning an average income and more so for spouses of retirement age on their second, or third, marriage who wish to ring fence assets for their children’s inheritances.

Anita added: Our prediction is that demand and interest in them will only get stronger but the onus is on us, the lawyers, to give accurate advice to ensure clients enter into them with their eyes open.”

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