In the US and Europe, pre-nuptial agreements (‘pre-nups) are very common because the courts very rarely overlook them. In these areas, such agreements are viewed as legally binding provided that both parties received sound legal advice before signing the agreement. Due to a history of overlooking pre-nups, the UK it renowned internationally as a place where spouses can get around pre-agreed terms. However, this is likely to change following a recent Supreme Court ruling which saw the terms of a pre-nup upheld after a retired French banker sought action against his ex wife, a German heiress. In light of this case and the precedent it set, the Law Commission is currently considering enshrining the recognition of pre-nups as legally binding contracts in law.
The UK and Ireland are exceptions in Europe in that they do not consider pre-nups to be simple contracts. Being contracts, pre-nups cannot leave out issues such as child support however other European countries assume that because adults acting with legal advice have made the agreements, they should be binding. Given that Malta, which doesn’t even recognise divorce, still accepts contracts regarding matrimonial property, it is surprising that the UK is only just starting to change its approach.
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For advice on making a pre-nuptial agreement, call our expert divorce solicitors. It is crucial that you get the right legal advice and we have the experience and know-how needed to help you.
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