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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W Y

Family

Pre-nuptial Agreements
Wednesday 12th December 2012

The Supreme Court in Granatino v Radmacher found that the court should uphold a pre-nuptial agreement provided that the agreement is entered into freely by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless it would be unfair to hold the parties to their agreement.

In the High Court case of V v V Mr Justice Charles (Charles J) heard a case regarding the validity of a Swedish pre-nuptial agreement.

At the first hearing in the local county court the District Judge gave the nuptial agreement limited weight because she thought that it did not clearly set out what would happen on marriage breakdown or divorce. The District Judge was also concerned that the wife had not sought legal advice and that the husband and wife had not disclosed details of their assets.

At the appeal in the High Court Charles J considered the impact of the pre-nuptial agreement. Following the landmark case of Granatino Charles J stated there is a need to recognise a couple’s autonomy including freedom to reach agreements regarding their financial affairs. Charles J said that if an agreement is entered into “honestly, freely and knowingly” then “proper respect” should be given to the agreement.

Whilst this case demonstrates that pre-nuptial agreements are likely to carry full weight it also clearly states that they are only one of the factors to be taken into account when dealing with financial matters following divorce or dissolution of civil partnership. In this case the court also considered the length of the marriage, the husband’s financial contribution to the family and the wife’s need for a home. The court concluded that the pre-nuptial agreement should be followed in accordance with the principle of autonomy. However any nuptial agreement must meet the needs of the parties and achieve fairness.

It is important to seek legal advice in relation to a pre-nuptial agreement to ensure the agreement’s validity and the likelihood that it will be upheld by a court.


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