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wedding prenuptuals

Couples in the Generation Z, i.e., those born on and after 1996, are more likely to seek a prenuptial agreement before marrying, a YouGov survey found. Men and women of Generation Z trend towards being more comfortable with consulting with a solicitor before marriage and protecting their assets first. They are more likely to see no stigma in talking about their money and earnings, specially now that more and more women own and manage their own businesses.

There are many views on whether this realistic approach to marriage and protecting their assets robs the marriage of its romance and seems to imply less than the total trust to their partner in the love. Yet the most important question remains – does having a prenuptial agreement increase the chances of divorce or not?

Poll shows most people don’t believe so

Statistics regarding prenuptial vs non-prenuptial divorces are not available and would be weighed unevenly because those who sign pre-nuptial agreements are those who already have something to lose in a divorce, and the results would most likely bias towards rich vs poor.

According to the yougov poll results, 58% of respondents believe that having a prenuptial agreement doesn’t make a difference on the likelihood of divorce. About 44% believe that having a prenuptial agreement advising how to distribute assets is a good idea. However only 30% would, if they were getting married for the first time, would sign a prenuptial agreement.

Surprisingly, in 2014 only 23% of respondents then aged 18-24 would sign, while 31% and 33% of those aged 40-59 and over 60 years expressed their willingness to sign if they were first getting married again.

Prenups might not affect divorce rates as much, but does affect going through with the marriage

According to data supplied by Hall Brown Family Law, one in four couples who inquire about prenuptial agreements don’t go through with the marriage.

“As opposed to offering a constructive way of dividing assets should their marriage not last the course, they are highlighting very real and serious differences before a wedding which can actually affect the chances of a couple staying together in the long run,” said Sam Hall, senior partner of the firm.

The agreements were serving “a valuable, practical purpose quite apart from that for which they were originally intended”, he stated. “Some of those with whom we have dealt have initially expressed great regret at what happened but later acknowledged that their break-ups were less upsetting than might have been the case had they divorced.”

The divorce rate stands at 42%. For couples in the millennial and Z generations, the marriage age is being pushed back and tend to try to accumulate wealth and security first before attempting to have marriage and children. Many of these generation are also children of divorce and are predisposed to protect their assets.

prenuptual agreements

 

Prenups may ruin the romance, but does help couples through their marriage

One of the changes in mentality that Generation Z have compared to older generations is not seeing marriage as something worth preserving at all costs, but something that should not cause suffering for both people who sacrifice pieces of themselves towards a greater union.

A prenup is not just a way for a rich person to preserve their money, but also as a way to make sure that the one spouse that remains out of the workforce is adequately compensated for neglecting their possible career and nurturing their children while their spouse advances theirs. In addition, having one is a sign of trust that they are not just being married for their money.

If divorce is so disastrous that the prospect of having it is terrifying, that can trap spouses into a loveless or abusive marriage. In the event of a divorce, one of the two will find their prospects greatly diminished entering into the job market, which would hinder taking care of their children.

Generation Z gets talk about how going all-in with the marriage shows trust and leaves no room but to fight for it, while having a prenup signals that they are entering a marriage planning on its failure. Marriages in previous generations lasted for decades because they had no easy option for walking away.

Generation Z sees that divorce is common, and it is nasty, and they want no part of that for their own lives and their children.

Preparing a prenuptial agreement to strengthen your marriage

In the coming years, the trend will be to see how often millennials divorce, who have a different view of marriage than their parents. They don’t seek marriages as much for financial, religious, or family reasons and see marriage as a means for emotional fulfilment. They respect marriage more as legal commitment with much room for compromise.

In fact, some statistics show that divorce rate have dropped by as much as 16 percent in other countries. The marriage rate may be falling, but those who do get married have a greater chance of lasting longer than marriages entered ten years ago. How could this be?

Many point to how newer generations see marriage as a sign of status rather than just something ‘you have to do’, the increase in education and financial ability of those who enter into marriage, or that more and more choose not to enter into marriage in the first place.

Family solicitors in the UK have hit upon another increasing trend for marriages that seeks prenuptial agreements. They do so not to protect their money but to protect their emotions and mutual respect. Having a prenup means also having regular review clauses, such as having marriage, lasting a number of years, preparing for unexpected events like one of them being disabled or incapacitated in severe illness. Landmarks are set and potential troubles discussed, and transparency and fairness talked out ahead of time.

Generation Z no longer functions on a strategy of reckless optimism in marriage. When both parties plan for how their marriage fails, they also must take in mind how their marriage can fail and how to plan to address them before they become problems in the first place. Solicitors advise in their agreements that before entering into a divorce they must meet a required amount of marriage counseling.

Prenup agreements are not automatically enforceable

Prenups make divorce significantly less traumatic and faster to complete. Prenup agreements can be challenged, which is another reason not to think this is an easy way to get out of a marriage but rather an incentive to work towards preserving it.

The enforcement of a prenuptial agreement is up to the court’s view of fairness. According to Supreme Court case of Radmacher v Granatino from 2010, the court should “give effect … a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement”.

Prenuptial Agreements should also be sure that it was not entered in duress, that both parties had adequate disclosure and required legal advice. The court may also modify the agreement with regards to the contribution to non-economic aspects of family life and for the benefit of their children. Solicitors advise that a prenup is not a predictive contract. There is no guarantee that one spouse will remain the main financial contributor in the future.

But if prenuptial agreements in the UK are not legally binding, then why enter one in the first place?

Prenuptial agreements might not expressly have the force of law, but they do have great weight to the court. For many in Generation Z a prenup is not meant to get the court to protect their money but about respecting their individual autonomy.

It may seem like a prenup might not be “a very British thing”, as some may say, but it looks like that’s changing.

same sex marriage - lovely lesbians kissing on a beach

Unexpectedly, same-sex marriage might force Northern Ireland to have a government again

England, Wales and Scotland all legalized same-sex unions in 2014. The Republic of Ireland voted in a referendum to legalize it in 2015. Northern Ireland remains one of the few territories within the EU zone that still bans same-sex marriages. Northern Ireland however possesses its own parliament, and their own independent judiciary and court system, though the highest court of appeal remains the UK Supreme Court. Northern Ireland also has its own unique issues, such as the fact that it doesn’t quite have a government right now.

The British Parliament decided to slide past the collapsed Northern Irish Assembly to force the government of Northern Ireland to legalize both abortion and same-sex marriages. Landslide votes in the House of Commons do not yet automatically change the law in Northern Ireland. However, since the Assembly in Stormont, East Belfast remains defunct since its collapse in 2017, if this assembly doesn’t resume its duties by the deadline of October 21, the amendments will stand and come to force.

MPs from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) voted against and argued that the parliament in London was drastically overreaching their grasp and such matters should remain to be resolved by Stormont. And they will. If the DUP and Sinn Fein could come back to terms in the assembly and restore the government.

2 gay men in sea water

Unexpectedly, many different-sex couples want to have the right to have Civil Partnerships over Marriage too

Prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the UK, there was Civil Partnership Act 2004 that allowed them to enter into civil partnerships rather than marriages. Over time the rights assigned to civil partnerships have been much the same as marriage. Unexpectedly, it was raised that the Civil Partnerships Act 2004 might be against the EU Convention on Human Rights for being discriminatory.

The Civil Partnerships, Marriage and Deaths (Registration etc.) Act 2019 will formalize options allowed to heterosexual couples who wish to enter into a civil partnership rather than marriage. Why would they prefer this form of civil union? Here are some reasons:

  1. Marriage carries with it the historical and religious ‘baggage’ that the couple may feel uncomfortable with endorsing.
  2. Marriage is a rite that involves inviting family and friends and hosting a celebration afterwards, some may feel this is too expensive or an invasion of their privacy.
  3. Cohabiting couples are surprised to learn that they don’t actually have as many protections equivalent to marriage as they had assumed.
  4. This will allow transition from or into marriage if one of the couple undergoes a sex change operation.
  5. Legitimacy for children born at a time parents were not formally married.
  6. The recognition of overseas relationships.
  7. Etc.

Voiding a civil partnership is similar to divorcing, often served by the same form and assisted by the same divorce solicitors. There are some peculiarities to civil partnerships however, such as adultery by itself not a valid ground for dissolution, and of course that it may be voided by entering into marriage.

Expectedly, No Fault Divorce will make divorce easier and less costly

The current system of divorce is adversarial, which induce unnecessary stress on the family. Regulations state that one party must be at fault, or that living with them is intolerable. Couples must live apart for at least two years before they may separate fully. Also, one party may deny the divorce – but if they live apart for five years only then will consent no longer be required.

The consultation paper Reducing Family Conflict: Reform of the Legal Requirements for Divorce also stated how the current law aggravates family conflict.

  • A. The question of fault forces couples to take up hostile positions

The need to cite evidence means digging up whatever allegations necessary to prove fault, which may aggravate and humiliate the respondent that the marriage itself becomes irreparable. The defense process increases acrimony, instead of a solution to family justice.

Once the petition has been filed – because of the need to prove fault and the provisions that require lengthy separation before a non-acrimonious dissolution is granted – this strictly works against agreement and reconciliation that could have saved the marriage.

  • B. The law doesn’t actually address the reasons why the marriage breaks down

The divorce petition is concerned only with the fact that the marriage has broken down, not why. The reasons given in the petition may not even be true, but simply the easiest and fastest option for both concerned. Adultery, separation, and other acts that may be grounds for divorce could be simply symptomatic of a desire to dissolve the matrimony.

  • C. The law is open to manipulation

The current law was remarked to be ‘procedurally unfair’, with only 2.28% of all petitions are actually contested in court. Due to the need to provide evidence, even if respondents may agree to the divorce, they may feel it is necessary to disagree vehemently with the allegations in particular used to support the petition.

In practice, many family lawyers and judges feel that the defense is costly, unhelpful, and ultimately futile and imposes unnecessary burden on the courts. Furthermore, outcomes usually reflect the relative bargaining capacity of both parties, and can be misused by vindictive spouses to make the divorce unnecessarily difficult. Divorce terms can be financially abusive even after escaping an emotionally abusive marriage.

Divorce petitions can be considered not a legal issue in itself but a means to construct a narrative that would secure a legal divorce. Those involved, even when they both agree, are highly incentivized to manufacture ‘facts’ to support their petition.

  • D. The current law does not support the emotional needs of children

Research has shown that although children are inevitably affected when their parents separate, it is a far greater cause for social and behavioural problems to see the hostility between them. Where children have been encouraged to take sides, their relationship with both parents are instead impacted severely as from the conflict of loyalties and a child’s keen awareness of hypocrisy.

Furthermore, due to the artificial requirements of consensual separation as grounds for divorce, many are forced by financial reasons to live ‘separately’ as two households under one roof. This creates an artificial atmosphere that is confusion and harmful to children.

Proposed changes to reform the divorce process are concerned with three main outcomes.

  • That the decision to divorce is a measured one, that gives spouses all opportunity to change course.
  • That they are not put to legal requirements and hardship that do not serve their or the state’s interests.
  • To avoid ongoing conflict and poor outcomes for children.

Couple in London, UK

Unexpectedly, the UK actually sees the lowest level of divorce rates in 45 years

According to the Office of National Statistics, in 2017, there were 101,699 divorces down from 106,959 of 2016. This is the lowest since 1973. Divorces peaked in 1993 with 165,018; 1985 with 160, 300; and first in 1972 with 119, 025. However what is missing is that 1972 was also the record highest in marriages with 426, 241 marriages that year. There were much less divorce rates prior to the Divorce Reform Act of 1969, effective 1971, for obvious reasons.

All this shows is the ongoing decline in couples choosing to get married, which means overall there are fewer couples to divorce,” spoke Frank Young, head of family policy at the Centre for Social Justice, explaining that the drop in divorce rates was no reason to celebrate. “Marriage is increasingly a middle-class perk with 87 per cent of higher earners getting married compared to only 24 per cent of lower earners.

Since the 1970s, marriage rates have been decreasing while the divorce rates have more or less managed to remain stable. Waxing nostalgic about 33% of divorces happens when there are 426, 249 marriages to merely 119,025 divorces. In recent years over 45% of marriages end in divorce because since the 1990s, marriages dropped hard below the 300,000 per year rate while divorces hovered around the 160,000 per year rate. 2015 was the best of recent years at 42%, with 239, 020 marriages compared to 101,055 divorces.

It is hoped that by making marriage easier, and making it less painful to separate, this might encourage more marriages that promote stability in the family; wherein there are two partners facing the same challenges and giving support to their children.

Women should not need marriage for financial security and social status and, increasingly, they don’t. Often, marriage makes women poorer, because it creates dependents,” Tanya Gold wrote for The Observer.

 

employment law

It’s no surprise that Brexit is leaving most employers and employees in a legal limbo. For all that many may be expecting the post-Brexit environment to be weighed towards employees, of the moment uncertainty only depresses worker’s rights and forces them to cling to whatever signs of stability in employment they can find.

Brexit fears have exposed how a record number of UK Employees are drastically underpaid, with almost 440 thousand people paid below minimum wage, and over 6 million people earn below the ‘real living wage’ of £9/hour or £10.55/hour required to keep their heads above water. The report by the Low Pay Commission found that a higher proportion of women were underpaid and the youngest and oldest were the more affected than other age groups.

This is not new, as the annual list of underpaying companies released by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy shows. However the fears of a contracting economy presents a hindrance for small business owners to adjust their pay scales. In order to pay everyone, both employers and employees fear that someone needs to be let go.

Coming to Work Sick Just to Keep Present

Among the most desperate of actions by employees in order to appear valuable is to come to work even when unwell. Already over 70% of UK workers choose to still go to work when they feel ill, a study found. This is presenteeism, and coming to work even when ill has several possible reasons behind it. The fear of staying off work for days may be interpreted as lacking commitment is one, similar to company peer pressure and the high demands of a competitive culture workplace. Other reasons cited are a lack of adequate sick pay and experienced financial difficulties that stress employees to show up to work even when feeling ill.

In a time when there is a labor shortage and other employees are working for more hours for less pay, absenteeism is stigmatized. Many employees reported they already work 68 days more per year than they need to, without overtime pay, as they are required by their bosses to sign a waiver in their employment contract.

The risks of presenteeism however, are many. Apart from worsening the employees health, there is also the danger of infecting more people in the workplace and impacting productivity. For non-infectious long-term ailments, it can worsen to the point of a disability.

The greatest irony is that when someone goes to work when mildly under the weather, others also feel pressured to imitate them in order to demonstrate passion and commitment for their jobs. There is also how high workload and job insecurity itself may require time away from work before developing into illness, but workers feel wary about the consequences of staying away from work until they are eventually forced to do so by burnout or stress-related ailments.

The stigma comes from “older generations that never accepted that someone can be truly be working productively at home”, said George Boué, a vice president of Human Resources at Stiles Corporation. There is a deep suspicion that workers cannot keep on task when they are not under the eye.

Jobs that were once formal fulltime work have become uncertain and transitory in a more gig-based economy. Now employees can be temporary, seasonal, part-time, by agency, freelance, platform-based, outsourced, subcontracted, marginal, etc., and both managers and employees seek some form of stability.

Mike Marsen of the health services company Allies for Health + Wellbeing and a member of the Society for Human Resources Management’s HR discipline expertise panel says there are two types of managers. “The first believes that employees are inherently not willing to work and thus need a lot of rules. These managers will be predisposed to think the worst of any employee, especially when illness is brought up as an excuse for being out of the office.

“The other kind of manager will try to set reasonable standards and trust employees to be adults. The onus is on managers themselves to create a culture where employees feel empowered to take time off, he says. The best way is through leading by example.”

The Holiday Campaign, the Four-Day Work Week and Other Experiments

With the predicted labor crunch after Brexit hits, the government is pulling out all stops to present the UK as still an attractive place for skilled and reliable workers.

It is estimated that in the UK, 1.8 million people are not receiving the holiday pay they are entitled to, and so recently the government launched the “It Comes With the Job” advertising campaign to make employees more aware of their rights as part of the 2017 Industrial Strategy.

Another experiment is the Four-Day Work Week, endorsed by many employers and employees. A recent Oxford study suggested that working four days could improve productivity, leading to a healthier workforce, reduction in sickness absences and better work-life balance. However, it has also its criticisms in that reduced work hours negatively impact those who do need those paid hours. In some sense it is necessary to combat work fatigue, as many in the UK find themselves actually working seven days in the week just to keep ends met. Critics of the theory point to France which implemented a 35-hour work week and the reduction to four working days reduced rather than increased overall employment for those affected by the law.

With the TOEIC scandal having deported over 1000 students and locked away in limbo almost 30,000 other student and work visas, the Home Office finds itself under fire for broad brush responses that drive away thousands of skilled workers and students and leaving them no way to appeal and clear their name.

Many Sick Leave and Time Off Protection Laws are Actually Derived from EU Legislation

The Working Time Regulations 1998 and The Working Time (Amendment) Regulations 2007 implement the EC Working Time Directive which guarantee workers the right for fair working conditions as set out in Principle 10 of the EU Pillar of Social Rights and Article 31 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. These laws provide the limit to weekly working hours, a rest break and minimum daily rest period, the mount of paid annual leave, holiday pay, and maternity and parental leave.

International standards also serve other legislations in place to prevent and remedy discrimination and harassment based on many factors, and whistleblower protection, such as the Equality Act 2010. TUPE regulations smooth the transfer of employees between companies. These protections for workers are to universalize the free movement of people, goods, services, and capital between member states.

Other employment law rights, such as the protection from unfair dismissal and the rights when engaging in strikes, derive solely from UK regulations. When the UK finally leaves the EU, certain laws derived from EU regulations might need to be changed.

Theresa May pledged to “embed the strongest possible protections” for worker rights and entitlements in replacement for scrapped EU laws but Labor and unions remain unconvinced. Even if the parliament did pass equivalent laws to EU standards, they would still lose out on key features like rights having primacy over local laws and the effective enforcement of remedies.

Unions and employment solicitors are concerned that after Brexit, workers will lose access to EU courts that have largely proven to give more sympathetic interpretations of the law to their concerns rather than corporate interests. The UK has a record of resistance to the pro-worker legislation developed by the EU. Labor simply does not trust that the PM’s offer even approaches the need to give precarious workers the full protection they used to enjoy under EU employment law.

Both workers and employers need to keep well-informed and motivated to fight for their rights in order to avoid chaos in their workplace as Brexit finally hits. Delays only keep heightening the uncertainty, even if the worst should hit would be relief, as now they have a stability of a sort to finally get around to fixing it.