If you follow the media buzz surrounding the Royal Family and were excited about the wedding and the fairy tale of US celebrity meets British royalty, one thing you won’t find in the tabloids or the Washington Post is that Harry and Meghan have a prenup. The stance from Kensington Palace is prenupts are for celebrities, not royals like the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Prenuptial Agreements are not commonplace in the United Kingdom but prenups are on the rise in the US. CNBC reported in 2016 that prenuptials are on the rise with millennials andthat overall prenupts have increased fivefold in the past 20 years.
Why are prenups on the rise in the US and virtually nonexistent in the UK? Mainly because prenuptial contracts cannot be legally enforced in UK courts. Why is this important to non-celebrities and non-royals like me an you? In North Carolina, US citizens are able to contract prior to marriage as to all financial matters, including spousal support/alimony in the event of a separation or later divorce. Prenups can prevent lengthy court battles when the parties separate.
But isn’t a prenup a preface of a marriage destined not to last. No, if the wedding bliss does not last then a prenup is a key document, especially with the rising rate of divorce.
If you are not part of the Royal family and do not reside in the UK, then planning for a wedding may include not only picking out the cake flavor, but also making business-like decisions such as: how to divide the 401(k), how to manage household spending, who keeps the beach house previously deeded to a spouse from a family member, and how to divvy up the wedding china and gun collection in the event of a split. This discussion and a prenup may even save a marriage since potential spouses will discuss how to prepare for their joint financial future Also, you might have a prenupt and not even know it; a napkin with “ideas” about the once impending marriage which can be supported by law later upon separation may act as a prenup! Unless you are a member of the Royal Family, consider a Prenuptial Agreement written and signed by both parties before a notary. Be sure and consult a skilled family law attorney who can provide relevant legal advice to your specific situation and can also educate you on planning for your marriage and joint financial future!