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Pre - Nuptial Agreements

An increasing number of people are entering into pre- nuptial agreements, otherwise known as pre-marital agreements. Pre-nuptial agreements are agreements made before marriage dealing with what will happen in the event of a divorce.

Traditionally, the courts have been reluctant to attach too much weight to such agreements on the basis that they were contrary to public policy and were an attempt to override the divorce laws.

Pre-nuptial agreements are still not binding in English law, however, following the judgement in the case of Radmacher v Granatino (October 2010) the court should uphold such agreements if the parties entered into it freely, with a full appreciation of its implications, unless in the circumstances prevailing, it would be unfair to hold the parties to the agreement. Although the court provides no definitive guidance on what is considered to be ‘unfair’, a pre-nuptial agreement will not be binding in the following circumstances:

  • If it will prejudice the reasonable requirements of any children of the family;
  • Where the duration of the marriage renders what was once fair, now unfair;
  • Where the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement fail to meet the needs of a receiving party or properly compensate him or her for any financial disadvantage caused by the relationship

If you do wish to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement, we advise that both you and your partner obtain independent legal advice and that you enter into the agreement at least 28 days prior to the marriage.

Post- nuptial agreements are agreements entered into after marriage dealing with what will happen in the event of a divorce. Following the judgement in Radmacher and Granatino, the legal status of a pre- and post- nuptial agreement is the same.

Manor Law Ltd, trading as Manor Law Family Solicitors, is a registered company in England and Wales - number 7977350, and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority - Hertford office SRA number 567506 and City of London office SRA number 568637. Copyright © Manor Law, 2016. All rights reserved.

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