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Are pre-nuptial agreements a smart option?

That is the problem with us women: we follow our hearts,” says screenwriter Tricia Walsh-Smith. “We’re all into the ‘love and happy-ever-after’, and it’s rubbish.” As the wronged British socialite who famously took revenge on her husband by humiliating him on Youtube last year, it’s easy to imagine why Walsh-Smith may not be love’s greatest advocate.
However, her bitter tale — a divorce that left her with a $45,000 credit card bill, huge legal costs and eviction from her apartment—is not so far removed from that of countless other women who have found themselves falling out of favour and out of pocket.

Heartbreak can be costly. A recent survey by Scottish Widows found that one in seven people in Britain would consider marrying purely for money, while the number of men making claims on their wives’ wealth in divorce has doubled since last year. According to the Office of National Statistics, one in 10 marriages now end in divorce within five years, and wary women are drawing up contracts to ensure their assets are still alive and kicking long after the romance is dead.

“We’re moving on as a society where women are a bit more realistic about relationships and whether or not they’re going to endure,” says Amandeep Gill, an associate of the law firm Davenport Lyons. “Times have changed. These days, you’ve got far more women in the workplace, they’ve generated wealth independently and, particularly if you’ve got a woman marrying later on in her thirties or forties, it’s natural to want to protect one’s wealth.” In Walsh-Smith’s case, the small print of her prenuptial agreement revealed clauses that served her husband's interests rather than hers, but a well-managed prenup can be invaluable.

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