Big money, big ego, big bills. The Guardian writes this week about the increasing number of high-profile, high-stakes divorces in the San Francisco tech-sector. The billionaire founder of Farmville is just one a of a growing number of divorces involving young couples arguing over some eye-watering numbers.

This side of the pond we see the same trend: whilst historically many couples tended to start with almost nothing and build up their wealth during the course of their marriage, now we see a host of couples who go into their nuptials with significant personal wealth, which they unsurprisingly seek to protect by way of pre-nuptial agreements. Couples who don't have such protection in place are increasingly presenting arguments to the court to ring-fence the assets acquired them pre-maritally. 

Unlike Californian law which has a hard and fast rule that ring-fences pre-owned property, English law has no such thing. Lawyers and courts work from a list of factors to be considered in every case (know as the Section 25 factors), and from legal precedents, but each and every case rests on its own facts, and there can never be absolute certainly about how a court will divide assets. As a general rule, the needs of the parties (housing, living expenses) will always take priority, but to the extent that assets are divided in a way that meets these, a court will tend to allocate pre-marital assets, especially where a marriage has been short.

So, while a pre-nuptial agreement is not in fact legally binding in this country, ie a court cannot be forced to follow its provisions, it will be taken into account by a judge when deciding on the division of assets on divorce: a very worthwhile protection to put in place for today's young entrepreneurs.