Prenuptial Agreements Advice
In contrast with other jurisdictions, most notably the USA, pre – nuptual agreements have never really been very popular in England and Wales by reason of the doubts which surround their validity. A pre – nuptual agreement is a contract between engaged couples intending to marry or enter into a civil partnership, which sets out the division of assets in the event of the failure of the marriage/civil partnership.
“The problems have centred on the risks of one party exerting undue influence over the other, how a change of circumstance, (such as the birth of children) should be provided for and the fact that the courts are reluctant to have their jurisdiction ousted when the needs of a vulnerable spouse or vulnerable child are at risk”, said Mrs Staff.
However, the recent case of Radmacher may have changed the law on these issues. The Supreme Court decided by a majority of eight to one that a court should give effect to a pre-nuptual agreement freely entered into by the parties with a full appreciation of its implications unless, in the circumstances prevailing, it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement.
Adds Mrs Staff, “As a result there may now be scope in some cases for engaged couples to consider a pre-nuptual agreement provided there is a full disclosure of assets and neither party is exerting wrongful influence over the other.”