Family & Divorce
English Law has not traditionally recognised prenuptial agreements, but attitudes are changing.
The Court looks at all the assets of a marriage at the time of divorce and distributes them in accordance with the needs of the parties. This is done by certain principles laid down by Statute and case law. In any event, what might seem agreeable in the first year of marriage may become irrelevant as a result of children, illness or bankruptcy.
It is impossible to foresee all eventualities. However, sometimes the Court will recognise these agreements and this may become more common as a result of a recent case: Radmacher v Grantino, decided by the Court of Appeal. Provided the agreement is properly drawn up and both parties receive independent legal advice, the Courts are more likely to do so.
The parties must not have entered into the agreement under duress, there must be complete financial disclosure, it must be fair and reasonable and must not weigh heavily in favour of one party. It should also include plans for children both current or future. Prenuptial agreements make sense for anyone entering into a second or subsequent marriages or civil partnerships who want to protect their children, regarding their inheritance rights.