An article in the Daily Mail claims that the law surrounding prenuptial agreements are redundant and only apply to wealthy couples who want to divorce. It is reported that most courts will ignore such arrangements as they are likely to take a more ‘fair’ viewpoint of each individuals’ respective financial needs. Put into practice, it is seen to that ‘meeting needs is the central factor on divorce’ is a priority, however, a prenuptial agreement would be honoured if one person in the divorce has much more wealth than their ex-partner requires.
High Court Family Judge, Mrs Justice Roberts clarified this position by stating: ‘The courts will not regard an agreement as fair for these purposes if it does not meet each parties’ needs and the needs of the children. It is only in cases where there are plenty of assets available to meet both spouses’ needs, and then a surplus left over, that a pre-nup is likely to have real value’.
Family Solicitor and Head of Mediation, Adrian Rose sums up the law surrounding pre-nuptial agreements: ‘The headline is unfortunately misleading and the law is unchanged. The helpful guidance set out by Mrs Justice Roberts gives an accurate assessment of the law as it is.
Where the couple wish to make arrangements in the unfortunate event of their separation and to protect, for example, their own assets or family wealth where they have both disclosed their means fully to each and have had proper advice then the Court is likely to view their agreement as highly significant should either seek to withdraw from it.
Few would argue that agreements that are unfair to one party or that do not provide for dependent children should not be set aside. With careful planning the wishes of the parties can easily be provided for although the advice of a lawyer who is experienced in dealing with these agreements should always be sought before they are entered into.’