Couples in Burton and Swadlincote are being left out of pocket after failing to plan in case their marriage fails, says a lawyer has said.
Official statistics have shown that national divorce rates are currently running at 42 per cent nationally and splitting assets often becomes the trickiest and costliest element of a settlement.
Solicitor Davina Warrington, from Woolley and Co, believes that couples should look into signing pre-nuptial agreements before they tie the knot to safeguard their assets should the marriage brake down later.
Pre-nuptial agreements, often referred to as pre-nups, are contracts between a couple before they get married. They will often instruct solicitors on what to do with money or property that is owned jointly by the couple in the event of a break up or divorce.
The Burton-based solicitor said: "Pre-nups are common place around the world and are treated just like insurance by many people - it is there in case you need it not because you think you are going to need it.
"When planning their wedding, couples consider everything to the last detail; getting the cake sorted, venue, DJ, perfect menu. But very few have a pre-nuptial agreement on that list. That is why we are trying to get people to discuss it more openly and have invested in resources to help couples at the wedding planning stage."
Ms Warrington added: "I think a fundamental problem is people do not know how to raise the issue with their fiance. It could come across as if you are expecting the marriage to fail when it is not that at all.
"Couples need to ask themselves: what have we got to use?"
Five things you should know about pre-nups
1. What are pre-nuptial agreements?
A pre-nuptial agreement is a written contract between two people before they get married. It sets out the terms on how the couple should share their assets if the marriage is dissolved.
2. Why get a pre-nup?
Having an agreement can save a lot of time, energy and money if you find yourself going through a divorce. It eliminates the need to dispute the division of wealth, as it has been agreed before the marriage took place. A pre-nup can also come in handy if one spouse is in a significant amount of debt, as it can stop their partner having to take on the debt.
3. Who should get a pre-nup?
Anyone can get a pre-nup if they're planning on getting married, but lawyers will often advise that certain groups should look into protecting their assets. Couples with a large difference between their assets should look into getting pre-nups, as well as people who have children from a previous marriage to ensure they will inherit a fair share of your assets. Pre-nups could also prove to be a useful tool for same-sex couples, as their marriage may not be recognised is they move out of the UK.
4. What should be covered in a pre-nup?
Generally, they should define what is considered to be separate property, meaning it belongs to only one spouse. They will also usually determine how joint-property will be divided in case of a divorce.
5. How to get a prenup
The first step of getting a pre-nup is to talk to your wife or husband to be about it, many couples may find this difficult but it is important to settle on a deal that will protect both of your interests. You will then have to find a solicitor to draft a pre-nup for you, making sure you both fully agree with the conditions.
Younger couples marrying today are more likely to stay together past seven-year itch mark - which means they are doing better than their parents’ generation did, latest research shows. It suggests that couple living together before they marry makes marriage stronger.
Divorce rates have fallen to the lowest level for 40 years. The most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 130,473 couples divorced across the UK in 2013 – down almost three per cent in a year.
Recent figures showed the number of families headed by cohabiting couples was up by 30 per cent in a decade and more than doubling since the mid-1990s.