The popularity of ‘prenups’ amongst married couples has seen a large rise over the last 20 years, according to a new survey.

The survey, carried out by Savanta ComRes for the Marriage Foundation, found that one in five couples married since 2000 have some form of a prenuptial agreement in place.This compared to just 1.5% who were married in the 1970s, 5% in the 1980s and 8% in the 1990s.

Prenuptial agreements, or prenups – are legal arrangements signed before a marriage that are intended to plan for the division of assets should that marriage fail.

The survey found that prenups were most likely among couples who attended some form of marriage preparation class and were not associated with higher levels of divorce.

Sir Paul Coleridge, founder of the Marriage Foundation, said: “Couples who take time to confront potentially tricky financial (or other) issues before they marry are less likely to be derailed by them if and when they arise. It can be a sensible part of premarriage prep.

“Similarly with the increasing age at which couples marry, either for the first or second time, it is more likely that one or other will have established wealth which they feel they want to protect.

“If marriage is to retain its appeal to future generations couples of all ages should be allowed to fashion a bespoke level of financial commitment which suits their own circumstances and not be forced to rely only upon the state designed model.”

Harry Benson, the Marriage Foundation’s Research Director, said: “Prenups do not appear to be akin to organising the divorce in advance.

“If anything the direction of travel is that they may even be slightly protective of marriage.”

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