Senior Partner Julian Hawkhead was asked to provide some comments for the celebrity and entertainment magazine US Weekly yesterday around the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement. Julian was asked whether he foresaw the couple signing a prenuptial agreement and what that would mean in English law if they were to split up.
Julian responded that as Prince Charles and Prince William had not signed any agreements with their respective partners, it seemed unlikely that Harry would choose to do so as well. There appears no drive to do this coming from the senior members of the royal family.
If they were to divorce Julian suggested that “it is very unlikely that Meghan would get as much as half”. Prenups “do not have the same weight as the Hollywood prenups and divorces”… “nor will they include penalty clauses for bad behaviour”.
The Suits actress, who is already divorced, might have her own thoughts on prenups, having a reported net worth of £4 million. US Weekly has a circulation of around two million in the US where prenuptial agreements are much more common than the UK. However we would still advise couples to consider preparing one before they marry, particularly if they already have existing wealth in their sole names, through money they have earned, have inherited or been gifted. They can help provide greater certainty about how the assets should be divided in the event of a future divorce.
Julian suggested that Meghan’s financial claim “would increase over the years” and she would have “greater financial claims after a 10-year marriage than after a two-year marriage.”
Although it might seem unromantic to discuss a royal divorce when the marriage has only just been announced, a prenuptial agreement is sometimes seen as a type of insurance policy, providing for what happens if a marriage ends up in divorce. They don’t prevent people getting divorced and in England do not provide a 100 percent guarantee regarding the financial settlement in the event of a divorce, however they can provide some financial piece of mind.
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