Justice Secretary, Mr Kenneth Clark, wants to save at least £40million from the annual justice budget of £2.1billion, and suggests State funded legal assistance for divorce should cease. This proposal raises the spectre of hundreds of thousands of divorcing spouses, either paying for their own legal advice, representing themselves, or following the American system of taking out 'before the event' insurance policies against the cost of divorce.
With one in three marriages resulting in divorce, should couples contemplating marriage be adding insurance to their wedding arrangements?
All too often, couples contemplating marriage spend a great deal of time and money selecting flowers, colours, wedding dresses and gift lists. Sadly, too few couples spend time improving their communication, or understanding their respective attitudes towards financial management, financial risk, child rearing issues, discipline and communication. Perhaps couples should focus more on developing their relationship and examining their compatibility, and perhaps, if so, the divorce rate would reduce.
The Supreme Court Judgment of Radmacher and Granatino adds legal force to the enforceability of Prenuptial Agreements. A properly drafted Prenuptial Agreement, where both parties receive independent legal advice, enter into negotiations freely and without duress, and share full and frank financial information can be binding. This means couples can plan in advance of their marriage how future assets may be divided in the event the marriage does not succeed, and also means couples are far more likely to understand their respective attitudes towards finance and risk, leading to a stronger, deeper and, one hopes, lasting partnership.
Surely the expense of preparing such an agreement may provide a greater return than the cost of flowers, and a greater return than insurance against divorce.