In 2006, a landmark judgement involving a German heiress ruled for the first time in the English divorce courts that prenuptial agreements should have decisive weight. The intervening period since this case has seen the advent of further legal precedents, as well as a Law Commission Report. As a consequence, we are seeing an increase in clients enquiring about pre-nuptial agreements.
This is a common myth. Engaged couples often make asymmetric contributions when buying property before they marry. Likewise, couples on second marriages may have assets and children from previous marriages that they are keen to protect. In addition, some individuals have significant family or inherited assets that they would want to keep in the sad event that they divorce. Arguably, a pre-nuptial agreement is the best way to provide these couples with certainty and it is expected that pre-nuptials will become more common, bringing us in line with the US and European countries.
The Law Commission laid out conditions for pre-nuptials to be considered binding. In a nutshell:
The parties to a pre-nuptial agreement should bear in mind that signing an agreement does not necessarily exclude the possibility of court proceedings, although it is hoped that the surety of an agreement may reduce costly and lengthy divorce litigation.
If you would like more information or to discuss your specific requirements, please contact Lin Cumberlin: