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The UK Supreme Court has today held that a pre-nuptial agreement is binding in England and Wales if it is fair. The Courts will still have the discretion to waive any pre-nuptial agreement - especially when it is unfair to any children of the marriage.
Ms Katrin Radmacher, a German paper company heiress, was delighted by the ruling and the fact that Britain has upheld fairness although she expressed some concern that it had taken 4 years to reach this point.
Initially her ex husband, Mr Nicholas Granatino, was awarded more than £5 million but this was slashed to £1 million on appeal. He therefore brought the case to the Supreme Court seeking to reverse that decision. Ms Radmacher, thought to have a fortune around £100 million, challenged the original decision of the Court and the Court of Appeal agreed that the couple’s pre-nuptial agreement should have been taken into account.
Before the Court of Appeal judgment was handed down, it was widely accepted that pre-nuptial agreements were not recognised in English law although they have always been a factor that the Court can take into account when considering the merits of an application for financial relief.
The Law Commission is due to report in 2012 on whether a change in the law should be made to ensure that pre-nuptial agreements are fully enforceable.
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