Talitha Brookman discusses the recent Radmacher v Granatino case and its likely impact on pre-nuptial agreements in the future. Published in Knowyourmoney.co.uk.
Historically in England and Wales, pre-nuptial agreements may have been persuasive in helping the Court make a final decision regarding a financial settlement.
However, the Court had the discretion to disregard the pre-nuptial agreement if they considered it to be unfair.
However, the recent high profile case of Radmacher v Granatino had led some to hope that more clarity would be brought to the law regarding pre-nuptial agreements.
The case ultimately went to the Supreme Court which agreed with the Court of Appeal’s previous ruling. This being that the couple’s pre-nuptial agreement was entered into freely by both parties and therefore should be a decisive factor in any subsequent financial awards.
How the Radmacher v Granatino case may affect pre-nuptial agreements in the future.
The Supreme Court highlighted three points that are likely to be important in terms of understanding how the Courts in England and Wales will view pre-nuptial agreements in the future:
- The agreement was entered into freely by both parties without undue pressure and with full information as to its implications.
- In this case, it was understood by both parties that the agreement was legally binding in Germany – the country in which it was signed.
- The parties may not be held to the agreement if certain other prevailing factors then made it unfair to either party, for instance, where the needs of children apply.
In the Radmacher v Granatino case, there were no factors which rendered the agreement unfair.
The above points do not mean that a pre-nuptial agreement will be binding, simply that the agreement may be binding given the right circumstances. The Court will still allow a departure from any nuptial agreement if it is considered unfair. However, it seems that Courts may now be more willing to uphold a fair pre-nuptial agreement.
If you would like to discuss with Brookman Solicitors any issues relating to nuptial agreements please contact us.