prenuptial agreements in England and Wales


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Latest cases and developments

Here you will find recent cases and developments about prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements and other marital agreements, which we hope will be of interest to you.

Senior Judge in favour of legally enforceable prenups

Lord Wilson of Culworth delivers speech about changes in the financial consequences of divorce, and speaks in favour of prenuptial agreements becoming legally enforceable

On 20 March 2017, Lord Wilson gave an address to the University of Bristol Law Club about changes over the centuries in the financial consequences of divorce, including the development of the law regarding prenuptial agreements.

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Why it's time for 'silver prenups' as marriage rate increases among over-65s

With figures indicating a steep increase in marriage among the over-65s, Maeve O'Higgins explains why it's sensible for these couples to put in place a prenuptial agreement to be fair to their current partner and preserve their assets for children from previous relationships.

Statistics published by the ONS for the period 2009-2014 and reported in The Guardian (here) have highlighted the increase in the number of marriages of opposite-sex couples aged over 65 (marriage for same-sex couples was only introduced in England and Wales in March 2014, so is not statistically significant in these figures.)

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Parents' agreement must be in child's best interests to be upheld

In this case, a provision prohibiting a child’s future relocation during her primary school years was ruled to be irreconcilable with the child’s best interests so, disapplying the general principle established in the case of Xydhias, the judge amended the wording of the draft order.

This case involved a financial application brought by a mother, under Schedule 1 of the Children Act 1989, which had been settled at a roundtable meeting attended by the parents and their very experienced lawyers, resulting in signed Heads of Agreement (“HoA”).

Under the general principle established in the case of Xydhias v Xydhias [1999], ordinarily HoA signed by the parties, or a clear exchange of solicitors’ letters setting out the terms of an agreement, will establish a consensus to which the parties should be bound.

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What happened when judge found prenup valid but unfair?

Prenuptial agreements found to be valid but unfair to wife – the judge held the court should therefore step in to alleviate the unfairness and award provision to meet the financial needs of the wife and children out of the husband’s separate assets (but was unable to do so in this case)  

Facts: A Swedish couple started living together in 1994 and married in 2000. The husband had worked as a sportsman and had achieved very considerable success in the US until 2003, when he was involved in a very serious accident. He suffered life-threatening injuries and the accident brought an end to his sports career.

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