Tories plan to make pre-nuptials binding

With more couples signing pre-nuptial agreements, the Conservative Party has pledged to make the documents binding.

The agreements, which outline the terms on which the couple would divide their assets if they divorced, are currently not enforceable by the courts.

Opponents warn that the practice undermines the idea of marriage as a lifelong commitment.

Shadow justice minister Henry Bellingham has told the BBC that the Conservatives want to bring in “a fairly wide ranging divorce law reform bill”.

He added, “I’m very keen that part of it will include ‘pre-nups’ and make them enforceable in law, subject to very strict safeguards”.

The political blogger Cranmer cited a criticism of the Conservative plan from one of his readers.

He wrote: “Virtually all the parties to this ‘debate’ seem to be making a fundamental mistake of treating marriage as a ‘contract’ rather than a ‘covenant’.

“Because it is a covenant it does not lend itself to the kind of legal impositions that politicians and lawyers are seeking to place upon it.”

He added: “Making a pre-nuptial agreement (preparation for divorce) legally enforceable would strike a serious blow at current public policy which is to support marriage as a lifelong commitment.

“Anything that undermines that would alter a fundamental aspect of public policy which has been part of our tradition for centuries.”

A recent survey of under-10s found that if they ruled the world, the first law they would make would be a ban on divorce.

Children of separated parents are likely to suffer enduring problems with their education, mental health and future relationships.

They are twice as likely to become divorced themselves as adults.

According to one survey, a third of children whose parents divorce seek solace from the trauma in drugs or alcohol.

And even though divorce is now more socially acceptable, a further study has shown that children still suffer just as much as when there was a ‘stigma’ attached to it.

Divorce also damages the adults involved. A recent study found that people who divorce are more likely to suffer long-term health problems.

Leading family judge Mr Justice Coleridge has been outspoken in his warnings about the current ‘epidemic’ of family breakdown.

He says marriage should be affirmed as the “gold standard” of relationships to help stem the tide of divorce.

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