The issue of prenuptial agreements has once again this week hit the headlines with the case of German heiress Katrin Radmacher and her husband Nicholas Granatino. In their proceedings the Court has once again considered the importance of pre-nuptial agreements in the context of divorce and the weight these agreements can carry.
This area has for a many years been one which is the subject of judicial comment and once again the Court has expressed the desire for further consideration of the position of such agreements under the law by the Government. Lord Justice Thorpe explained that he felt that '.subject to the proper safeguards, a carefully fashioned contract should be available as an alternative to the stress, anxieties and expense of a submission to the width of judicial discretion'. Whilst the case has not changed the law as such it once again highlights the importance of such agreements and the weight they can carry where appropriate.
The Courts will continue to have regard to properly executed agreements as part of the considerations in the event of a divorce and the importance of legal advice upon drafting or signing any such agreement is therefore clear.
It seems likely that in time consideration will be given to the position further by the Law Commission and therefore properly prepared and executed pre nuptial agreements seem likely only to gain in relevance and weight in law. At the moment they cannot stand as a guaranteed outcome in the event of a divorce but this could in time change. Certainly in many areas of Europe and America such agreements are essentially regarded as binding and so family lawyers may expect couples anticipating perhaps a second marriage or indeed in any situation where some control over future events is sought, prenuptial agreements seem to be a progressive answer and one which is likely to develop further in years to come.
For more information on pre-nuptial agreements or any aspect of family law please contact Emma Hamilton-Cole on 01202 694891