Landmark Decision Pre-nuptial Agreements/ New Law

7th July 2009
Landmark Decision Pre-nuptial Agreements/ New Law image

Landmark Decision – Pre-nuptial Agreements – New L

Prenuptial contracts are agreements couples enter into before marriage in an attempt to agree how assets should be divided in the event of their divorce. Strictly speaking such contracts are not absolutely enforceable in English Law

However, in a landmark decision yesterday (02.07.09) the Court of Appeal rewrote the divorce laws to give resounding backing to prenuptial contracts. Lord Justice Thorpe said that any rule that prenuptial contracts are void seemed to be ‘increasingly unrealistic’

This decision effectively reverses the law to date which dictates that on a divorce, the court has ultimate jurisdiction to divide the assets of the marriage as it sees fit according to what is reasonable in the circumstances of each individual case. This meant that a court could ignore a prenuptial contract entered into by the couple before the marriage in which they agreed ‘who should have what’ in the event of their divorce. There has been no guarantee to date therefore that a court would enforce the terms of a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements that have been successfully enforced to date have usually been in cases where the marriage survives for only a short period of time and where there are no children. This latest case however suggests that couples may now stand a better chance of agreeing how their assets should be divided  in the event of divorce to create greater certainty for both parties.

Only time will tell whether the decision will be overturned by the House of Lords or whether the courts will, in the future, seek to limit the circumstances in which such agreements are binding but clearly there appears to have been something of a sea change in the attitude of the courts in this area.

For more information contact Anita Toal of our Family Team

The Will Writing Company Limited image

The Will Writing Company Limited

It has been reported that The Will Writing Company Limited, whose registered office is at Ergo House, Mere Way, Ruddington Fields Business Park, Nottingham, have ceased to practise.

If you made Wills using this company then it is probably worthwhile making contact with them in order to retrieve your Wills. Once you have your Wills you may wish to make an appointment with one of the lawyers in our Wills, Lasting Power of Attorney and Probate Team in order to review your Will to ensure it still accords with your wishes. We also offer a Will storage facility which is free of charge.

To review your Will please contact one of our lawyers in the Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate Department:-

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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