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Increase in use of prenups amongst wealthy younger men

Date:19 JUL 2010

Prenuptial Agreement - Copyright iStockphoto/KLH49Men under 45 you are three times more likely to have a prenuptial agreement than those over 45, according to new research by family lawyers at Mishcon de Reya.

The firm carried out the research amongst 200 City high flyers and others earning more than £100,000 a year. Nearly two thirds (63%) of all those asked believe in an equal splitting of the marital assets on divorce, but for those aged under 45, this figure radically drops by a third to just 33%.

Of the 40% of men under 45 who don't believe in the equal splitting of assets, three quarters of them state that because they make a far greater financial contribution to the relationship, they should therefore be entitled to more. In addition, 50% feel their wife should only be entitled to as much money as she would need to look after their children and no more - a 20% increase from the overall sample.

Almost one in five (17%) of the men under 45 questioned have a prenuptial agreement compared to just 5% of those over 45, who tend to be more idealistic in their views of marriage.

Barbara Reeves, partner of Mishcon de Reya, said: "When it comes to marriage, men's focus may be more short term whereas women are generally more concerned about their long term financial security. It's interesting to see a new generation of men starting to take financial precautions to protect their wealth and it's certainly something we've seen an increase in recently.

"It's not surprising that older men are more idealistic in their views of marriage, as they're likely to have been married longer and have a more settled family life. However, they could be at the most risk because of this. It's likely that the older you are, the more wealth you will have accumulated."

The Supreme Court is currently considering the case of Radmacher v Granatino. German heiress Katrin Radmacher, worth £100 million, is fighting to get a pre-nuptial agreement her husband signed made enforceable to protect her personal wealth. The Court's decision is not likely to be handed down until October, according to sources at the Supreme Court.