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


Cancer Research UK Free Will Service image

Cancer Research UK Free Will Service

Maples Solicitors are pleased and proud to announce that it is working in partnership with Cancer Research UK to offer their Free Will Service for the over 55’s.

The vast majority of people have been affected in some way by cancer and we wish to support Cancer Research UK in its life saving work by offering their Free Will Service.

Over a third of Cancer Research UK’s research is funded by gifts in Wills and we believe we can play a vital role in helping in the fight against cancer. Writing your will for free using the scheme could help beat cancer sooner.

Please contact a member of our Wills and Probate Department:-
Jamie Dobbs- jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com
Jane Mawer- jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com
Faye Blair- faye.blair@maplessolcitors.com

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

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