The Supreme Court has ruled that Pre-Nuptial Agreements, entered into willingly by both parties, are to be given decisive weight unless there are factors which render it unfair as reported throughout the press and the attached is Channel 4’s version.
What this means for the man in the street in England and Wales is that there is now more certainty attached to entering into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement and marriage. Previously the Court would consider a Pre-Nuptial Agreement as one the factors of the case. Now there is legal precedent from the Supreme Court which the lower courts are obliged to follow which states that it will be a decisive factor unless there are special circumstances. Special circumstances could be one party losing their ability to work during the marriage or giving up a successful career to look after the family.
The flip side is that any couple which does not enter into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement from now on will probably find it more difficult to argue that the lesser earning spouse should receive less. The facility is now there to limit their claim so why not use it?
Is romance now dead? This brings our family law more into line with Europe and America and the real world.
If you have more money than your future spouse ask yourself:
Would my intended be offended if I asked her to sign a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?
If the answer is yes the next question is:
Is my intended offended because I am suggesting we may divorce and she may seek to have an equal share of my money?
If the answer is yes the next question has to be:
Why is my intended marrying me?
Is it for me or my money?
If you don’t want to know the answer then the risk is yours!
This case should also give more weight to Post-Nuptial Agreements – those entered into after marriage. The same questions can be asked as above but the tense needs to change and it is a bit like tying a horse up after it has bolted. Anyone who married for money is hardly likely to sign an agreement removing their right to make a claim but you may just want to know where you stand!