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Pre-nuptial agreements on the up as parents protect investments in children’s homes

The first step on the housing ladder for young people today is often more of a giant leap than a first step.

Here in Staines and the South East that is especially so with property prices not only amongst the most expensive in the country, but indeed the world.

For those fortunate enough to have bought their homes here many years ago, they have seen equity in their properties grow consistently, and with Staines and the surrounding areas being so sought after, this is unlikely to change.

This gap between the generations has led to an increase in parents giving their children a helping hand, especially as they enter marriage, and it is also part of the reason that pre-nuptial agreements are on the rise.

Pre-nups, as they are known, protect assets that couples have prior to marriage, and historically have been the preserve of the rich and famous, but are increasingly being used by the equity rich generation to help their children get a foot on the UK’s property ladder.

It is understandable why some parents are insisting that their children get legal advice to protect their homes. The idea of giving their son or daughter say £60,000 to help buy a property, and lose £30,000 of it to their child’s ex-partner if the marriage fails, is a real concern to many.

Reports suggest that the number of couples entering pre-nuptial agreements has gone up four fold since the courts first gave legal force to such arrangements in 2010.

It would seems that often pre-nups are suggested by parents, who are gifting money to a child, or planning to do so in the future.

It’s worth noting that Judges may not always follow the terms of a pre-nup when deciding who gets what in a disputed divorce settlement. However the Supreme Court ruling in 2010, which allowed the divorce of a German heiress Katrin Radmacher to be dictated by her pre-nup, has meant they now carry legal substance.

Pre-nups are generally considered private agreements with no official status; therefore numbers are not officially recorded.

Critics argue they can be seen as unromantic and set up a power imbalance in a relationship right from the start.

However, both sides of the prenuptial agreement divide have valid arguments. With property prices in London and the South East as high as they are, and the risk of divorce always present, we can only foresee the popularity of the pre-nuptial agreement rising.

If you wish to discuss how to protect your assets by entering a pre-nup agreement, or any other family law issue, please call us. We are happy to offer legal advice.