Are Pre Nuptial Agreements Worth It?

20th April 2011
Are Pre Nuptial Agreements Worth It? image

Are Pre Nuptial Agreements Worth It?

It was hoped that the long-awaited decision in the case of Radmacher v Granatino in October 2010 would answer the above question. The case established the following point of principle:

‘The Court should give effect to a nuptial agreement freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement.’

The answer appears to be therefore ‘probably!’

Couples planning to marry have long sought to agree who should have what in the event of the relationship going wrong, but the Divorce courts in England have the discretion to do whatever is considered reasonable in all the circumstances of the case when a couple divorce . Nevertheless the Courts have increasingly been willing to look at any pre-nuptial agreement entered into by the parties when considering all the circumstances of the case but the weight (if any) attached to the terms of the agreement differs from case to case. There is no law in England which states that couples are absolutely bound by any pre-nuptial agreement they entered into before they married.

However as society changes and with Divorce becoming sadly ever-more commonplace, many believe that couples ought to have the right to enter into a contract with their partner to sensibly work out the terms of any divorce settlement in the unfortunate event of the relationship just not working out. It is felt therefore that any move in the law to make pre-nuptial agreements absolutely enforceable in the event of Divorce would merely reflect the reality of modern-day living.

The fact is that despite making vows to stay together ‘til death us do part’ it makes sense to attempt to lay down an agreement for the division of assets on divorce in the hope that this will serve to cut down the bitterness and trauma of a marriage breakdown.

The case of Radmacher does not reflect a change in the law but it does provide the clearest indication from the English Courts yet that in the right circumstances a nuptial agreement in the right circumstances will be respected and upheld by the courts. However until parliament introduces legislation to firmly lay down the principles under which a nuptial agreement will be fully recognised by the courts then couples cannot be certain that the terms of their agreement will be absolutely binding.

However does that mean that couple should ignore the idea of entering into such an agreement? Absolutely not. Pre-nuptial agreements are likely to be respected by the divorce court particularly in short marriage and where the contribution in money/property of both parties to the marriage is clearly defined in the agreement. Also both parties ought to take independent legal advice before entering into the agreement

For more details or assistance with pre-nuptial agreements please contact Anita Toal 01775 722261 or email her on

Maples supporting Macmillan Coffee Morning image

Maples supporting Macmillan Coffee Morning

On 29th September 2017 Maples Solicitors LLP will be hosting a coffee morning as part of Macmillan’s “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”.

Tea, coffee and cakes will be served from 10:00am until 1:00pm and all donations received will go to Macmillan Cancer Support to assist them with providing medical, emotional, practical and financial support to those facing cancer and their families.

At the same time, Maples will also be running a free Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate clinic so that whilst you are in the office you may take the opportunity to discuss any of these with one of the Private Client Team with no obligation to commit. You can use the time to raise any questions you may have about making a Will, who you could appoint as Executors, whether you need a Power of Attorney or how a Power of Attorney works, for example.

Maples hope to see their existing clients join them for the coffee morning and very much look forward to meeting new people- everyone is welcome!

If you would like to discuss any matters in relation to Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney or any Probate related matters prior to the coffee morning then please contact one of the lawyers in our private client team:-

Jane Mawer-
Jamie Dobbs-
Faye Blair-

Or telephone the office on 01775 722261 and ask to speak with one of the team.

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Faye Blair LLB

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Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

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Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!

Anita Zaborniak

We found it a pleasure to deal with Anita Zaborniak, she was most helpful and informative and kept us up to date with the progress of the purchase of our new home. If we were to move again we wouldn’t hesitate to use Maples again.