Pre-Nuptial Agreements – are they now binding?

In the Radmacher case decided by our highest Court, The Supreme Court (formerly the House of Lords) in December 2010, the Courts in England and Wales moved yet a significant further step to upholding the binding nature of pre-nuptial agreements.

To explain, a pre-nuptial agreement is a written agreement entered into between husband and wife before marriage. In years gone by such agreements were commonly the preserve of only the very wealthy. But increasingly, this has changed in recent years and that to a great extent therefore is the importance of the Radmacher case, in that it will be relevant to "ordinary people".

30 years ago, even 10 years ago, pre-nuptial agreements were not contractually binding in this country, for public policy reasons, that being in stark contrast to other countries including USA and some European countries.

In recent years, the thinking of the Courts has been changed, with the higher Courts subscribing increasingly to the view that parties should be able to enter into a binding agreement to regulate their future personal and financial affairs, if they want to.

The case of Radmocher has indeed marked a turning point, because in that case, their Lordships declared that in future such agreements would be upheld unless there were circumstances prevailing which would make that unfair.

For a pre-nuptial agreement to be binding, the agreement must be properly drawn-up, clear as to its purpose, both parties should have received independent legal advice and its precise terms must be clear.

There are many situations in which parties might wish to enter into such an agreement. On a second marriage for example. Or where one party has or is due to receive inherited assets.

Here at Terry Jones we have a dedicated legal team with many years experience in cases on divorce. If you wish to enquire about a pre-nuptial agreement then please contact the following: -

Jeremy Charlton or Sue Fitzmaurice at our Shrewsbury office on:
Telephone 01743 285888
Email: jeremych@terry-jones.co.uk / suef@terry-jones.co.uk

Or

Christine McNeish at our Telford office on:
Telephone 01952 297979
Email: christinem@terry-jones.co.uk

 

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