Royal Prenup

If you are anything like me, you were glued to your television this morning, to catch a glimpse of the royal bride before you headed off to work.  It has been reported that Will and Kate did not sign a prenup before getting married.  Although I would recommend a prenup for most couples (Crystal and Hef), I don’t necessarily think a prenup for Will and Kate is essential, especially considering the laws in Great Britain.  While prenups are common in the states, they are not nearly as common in Britain.  Although prenups carry some weight, they are not 100% binding in Britain. 
Prenuptuals are all about bargaining power.  Once the royal couple got engaged, the only bargaining power each of them had, was their willingness to walk away from the marriage; something that neither of them were likely to do considering the short length of their engagement and the media coverage surrounding the wedding.  If you aren’t willing to walk away, you don’t have any power because you will do whatever it takes to get to the wedding day.   Perhaps Will realized that he was already asking Kate to give up her life as she knows it and it would be too much to ask her to decide how much that was worth right now. 
The difference between Will and Kate and the rest of us commoners is this:  Will and Kate are both very wealthy at a young age, whereas the rest of us are not so lucky.  Our society tends to view prenuptial agreements as something only the wealthy do.  That should not be the case.  One purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to predetermine how assets would be divided and support would be ordered in the event of a divorce.  However, prenuptial agreements also serve a very important second function: to declare assets that are already acquired as pre-marital assets.  Sometimes attorneys spend more time trying to determine what each of the parties had prior to the marriage (or the value of their assets) than they do trying to figure out what to do with what was acquired during the marriage (this is actually a very simple equation- you divide marital assets equally).  
One of the factors that should be considered when having a prenuptial agreement prepared is age.  The younger you are when the prenuptial agreement is being drafted, the less ability you have to foresee what you might need in the future, especially if other circumstances change.  For example, Will and Kate might have a difficult time negotiating what they may need if they divorce because they do not yet have children and they do not know how much time they are planning for (they do not know how long the marriage may last).
To be enforceable, both parties must fully disclose their financial picture, and the agreement must be entered into without coercion by either party.  Each party should seek separate counsel to advise them on their rights when contemplating a prenuptial agreement, in fact, our office will not participate in drafting or reviewing a prenuptial agreement unless the other party is also represented by counsel.  And remember, you only have as much power as your willingness to walk away.