Happily Ever After?

Happily Ever After?

These days there is an insurance product for just about everything: your car, your pet, your holiday… even your phone. But what about your relationship?

Whilst you can take out wedding insurance to cover your venue, your dress or even your cake, there’s no product on the market to protect you financially after you tie-the-knot… or is there?

In recent years the media has taken a particular interest in high wealth couples going through the court system and seeking a financial settlement following the breakdown of their marriage. These reports usually feature alongside articles discussing the rise of the ‘pre-nuptial agreement’.

However, it is not just affluent couples that should consider financial protection before their big day, everyone should – particularly women.

You may not want to think about the worst happening when you are planning your dream wedding, but it’s important to protect yourself both now and in the future. The Office for National Statistics reveals women over the age of 45 and 60 are significantly less likely to initiate a divorce than their younger counterparts, frequently as a result of financial dependency on their spouse.

Research from BlackRock’s Investor Pulse survey reveals that only 38% of women feel in control of their financial futures, compared to more than half of men.

Financial security becomes even more imperative if a couple decide to go on to have children and one parent takes the lead in childcare. Emma-Lou Montgomery, associate director at Fidelity Personal Investing, says:

“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman: from getting paid less than our male counterparts to taking career breaks to have children, women’s working lives very often stumble before they’ve even started…We might live longer, but we’re massively unprepared for it financially. Lower earnings for working mothers and part-time roles can be to blame, but so can simply failing to consider your own needs. While your children may well be your priority, remember you’re important too. Putting at least something aside for your future financial security isn’t selfish – it’s essential.”

Whilst there are plenty of online resources and off-the-shelf products purporting to offer pre-nuptial services, you should always seek independent legal advice. Put simply: everyone’s financial circumstances are unique and so should any financial security agreement be.

And it’s not just married couples that should consider their financial position, cohabiting couples should too. UBS SmartWealth conducted a survey of 2000 co-habiting couples and found that 59% of men considered themselves to be the main breadwinner in their household, whilst only 16% of women considered themselves to be. Whilst divorcing couples will find themselves subject to some statutory oversight under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, co-habiting couples receive no statutory protection and are often left vulnerable and disadvantaged; particularly if assets, such as the family home, are not owed jointly.

At Wolferstans, our highly qualified and experienced family lawyers can tailor any agreements to your specific needs, whether that is a pre-nuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement or advice on separation. Contact us on 01752 292228 if you think we can help you and your family.

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