|Tuesday 26th October 2010|
|26/10/2010 - Important Supreme Court decision on Pre Nuptial contracts, says Michelle Grove|
Many couples in this country are expected to adopt US-style “pre-nuptial agreements”, sometimes called “marriage contracts”, after an important decision made in the English Supreme Court, says Gill Akaster LLP's Family Law specialist, Michelle Grove.
The outcome of the case of German heiress Katrin Radmacher, who is worth £100 million, has decided legal principles that will apply to all marriages, no matter what the financial worth of the individuals.
Katrin Radmacher’s husband Nicolas Granatino, a French former investment banker, was contesting the validity of a pre-nuptial agreement he signed in Germany in 1998 three months before the couple married in London, which said that he would not claim against his wife in the event of a divorce. The Court decided he knew exactly what he was doing and held him to the agreement. The Court said:-
"The court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement."
However Michelle adds these words of caution, "In this country we are still a long way from some foreign courts who automatically recognise a pre-nuptial contract. The agreement must be fair and fully understood and this will mean that the validity of the pre-nuptial agreement is going to be determined to large extent by careful drafting of the agreement and the correct management of the circumstances in which it is signed - specialist legal advice is essential."
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