February 14, 2014

Could Emmerdale ‘divorce’ spark interest in pre and post nuptial agreements?

Fans of Emmerdale stalwarts Eric Pollard and Val Lambert have watched the fictional couple face a difficult week. Not only has it been revealed that Val is HIV positive but Eric is demanding a divorce after seeing her with another man.

Eric, the soap’s longest serving character, also expressed his anger at not having organised a pre-nuptial agreement prior to his marriage. As Eric’s marriage to Val was his fifth attempt to find wedded bliss, some of the soap’s six million plus viewers may have been a little surprised that he hadn’t previously considered a pre-nup.

As readers of our blog are aware, Jones Myers is passionate about prenuptial agreements as they may help prevent the acrimony that often befalls some couples.

However, pre-nups are too late for older married people like Eric and Val, who are, according to recent statistics, divorcing at a rate of knots.

Known as the silver separators, the number of over 60s opting for divorce has been rising steadily since the mid-1990s.  Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that the divorce rate between 1991 and 2011 for the over 60s increased from 1.6 to 2.3 per 1,000 married men and from 1.2 to 1.6 per 1,000 married women.

But, while the option to draw up a pre-nup agreement is closed to married couples, many may be unaware they could consider signing a postnuptial agreement or post-nup.

A post-nup is similar to a pre-nup as it determines what should happen to each other’s assets in the event of divorce. The difference is that it is drawn up after a marriage has taken place.

Whilst they are not legally binding, the courts have ruled that where such agreements are freely entered into by each party, they are likely to be adhered to unless the court reviewing the agreement considers it to be unfair at that point.

A post nuptial agreement can be helpful for people who are married for a second time – or even, like Eric Pollard, for a fifth time – as they can help to protect your assets and take into consideration the needs of children from a previous relationship.  A post-nup can also be amended if personal circumstances change.

It’s always interesting to see how a topical storyline in a soap viewed by millions unfolds – and how closely it matches reality. Therefore, we wonder how Emmerdale will tackle the practical and emotional issues of a divorcing older couple – neither of whom protected their assets with a pre or post marital arrangement.

If you have any questions or concerns about pre or post nuptial agreements, please call us on 0113 246 0055, leave us a comment below or drop us an e-mail.

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