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Should pre-nuptial agreements be binding?

11:43 UK time, Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Supreme Court in the UK has ruled that a pre-nuptial agreement between a German heiress and her ex husband is binding. Should English law recognise pre-nuptial agreements?

Katrin Radmacher's ex-husband Nicolas Granatino was initially awarded more than £5m in a divorce settlement, this figure was cut to £1m following an appeal which cited the couple's pre-nuptial agreement. In the pre-nup Mr Granatino had agreed not to make any claims on her £55m fortune if they split up.

Unlike other European countries English law does not generally recognise pre-nuptial agreements, but the Supreme Court said that in the right case such agreements can have decisive or compelling weight.

The Law Commission is due to report in 2012 on whether a change in the law should be made to ensure pre-nuptial agreements are fully enforceable.

Do you have a pre-nup? Should they be legally binding? Is it important to have an agreement before you get married? Should all couples have a pre-nup?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    If both parties are happy to have a 'pre-nup' then I don't see a problem. I'm not sure I'd want one but everyone's circumstances are different and provided it's entered into voluntarily it should be no one else's business.

    Knownought

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, HM Government's pre-retirement agreement with me, to increase my pension in line with the Retail Price Index, hasn't proved binding, so why should any other form of legal document?

  • Comment number 3.


    Should pre-nuptial agreements be binding?

    If you go to the trouble of making a pre-nup of course it should be binding.

    I'm not sure its a good omen for the succes of the marriage, but it should be binding.

    I imagine many lawyers thorughout Europe will be opening the champagne now that there is another are of day-to-day life where their advice has just become indispensible.

  • Comment number 4.

    The best option is to marry someone of similar intellect and sense of humour.

  • Comment number 5.

    Seems a little distasteful having such an agreement in the first place, as it smacks of distrust, which doesn't seem to be a good start to a marriage. However, given the existence of such a document, its terms must be adhered to legally, or what is the point of signing it?

  • Comment number 6.

    No a contract of marriage "till death"
    if you are drawing up an agreement of what to do when you decide to separate then you are not entering into the contract under the intention of "till death".

  • Comment number 7.

    If they help to prevent golddiggers from making fortunes, yes, they are a good idea.

    If a fortune is not disclosed prior to marriage, and one party is afterwards left destitute, then the agreement should not apply as written, but should be taken into account.

    It is still rather sad and unromantic, though.

  • Comment number 8.

    i dont see why not at the end of the day a pre numb is an agreement by two people so i fail to see why the courts can just throw this away if you enter an agreement and sign it you should be held to it by the law.

  • Comment number 9.

    I see no problem, assuming the parties enter into the areement willingly.

  • Comment number 10.

    Given the current state of the law and "no fault" divorce I think it's inevitable that there'll be more pre-nups as the current system lacks fairness.

  • Comment number 11.

    Why not? Everything else in the UK can be fought in the courts, so why not your money and assets.

    When I see people complaining that a house plus a £50k pa for life divorce settlement 'Just isn't enough to live on', then I think lazy greed is the motivator for some divorces.

    Lets legally sort out money matters before the wedding/partnership and then there can be no argument .... of course lawyers may not be happy :-)

  • Comment number 12.

    Simple answer, Yes!

  • Comment number 13.

    Should English law recognise pre-nuptial agreements? Yes, absolutely.

  • Comment number 14.

    If you think you need a pre-nup then you shouldn't be getting married.

  • Comment number 15.

    If you enter into a pre-nup contract willingly - and have qualified legal advice then it should be enforceable. Otherwise what's the point.

  • Comment number 16.

    Great news

    Finally some common sense has returned to our divorce laws which until very recently seem to favour one party above the other.

    Hopefully this will stop some of the sham marriages where one party seeks to financially benefit by marrying a rich person and then divorcing when the going gets tough.

    If you have money or likely to inherit, get a prenup!

  • Comment number 17.

    What is marriage if it is not a binding agreement made between consenting adults and signed in front of witnesses? If pre-nuptial agreements are to have the same if not greater force in law then what is the future of marriage, or should we all in future just seal our marriage contract in a solicitor's office!

  • Comment number 18.

    Marriage is a contract.

    So like any other contract you shoulkd be able to have your own terms before signing on the line.

    Why do you think most people who have any money now steer well clear....?

  • Comment number 19.

    The Supreme Court in the UK has ruled that a pre-nuptial agreement between a German heiress and her ex husband is binding. Should English law recognise pre-nuptial agreements?

    Well, having been retired for two years now, myself a widower and my partner a widow, we have been living together happily for nearly seven years now, so we don't need such an agreement - Nuptuals are just a memory these days! - but everyone and every relationship is unique in their own way, what will be good for one couple may not be acceptable - for what ever reason - for another couple.

    But having said that, I see no reason why such an agreement entered into voluntarily - voluntarily being the operative word here - between a couple then I cannot see a reason for it not to be acceptable.

    Though on a slightly different note, there are more divorces now than ever before in the UK - possibly other European countries too - but the UK is at the top in Europe for this, is this increase as a result of the financial and emotional strain that marraiges are put under these days? with the bread winner having to travel further and further to keep in work - often having to stay away from home due to the cost of travelling to and from work now - thereby putting a greater strain on marriages as one of the parents have to do everything at home rather than share the domestic tasks - especially for a working mother (or father) at home?

    It has always been an interesting point reading about comments from those at the top who have no financial worries on the divorce rates and why there should be less divorces and more emphasis put on keeping marriages together, most of these comments are from people who can afford Nannies and live-in child minders.

    But having said that, marriage is a holy matrimony that should never be entered into lightly, perhaps the stress and strain of living in what now has been recognised as the worst country in Europe to live in - the UK - has far more to do with it than has been previously considered.

  • Comment number 20.

    Any money earned or inherited before marriage should be exempt from gold diggers. Only money earned in the duration of the marriage should be classed as fair game.
    If you sign a pre-nup then you sign away all legal right to money earned/inherited before you met.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think if there are vast sums of money at stake that only 1 of the party has at the beginning of the relationship, although unromantic and pessimistic, it's the only route to go down.
    I've read too many 'gold-digger' stories that seem grossly unfair to the immediate family and reward the 'spouse' of only a few months or years

  • Comment number 22.

    A fundamental requirement of the Law is that it should be certain (how else can people be expected to abide by the Law?).

    If pre-nuptial agreements are not to be enforceable, because society deems them to be a bad idea, Parliament or the Supreme Court should make that very clear as soon as possible, now that one has been allowed.

    Personally I think they're a very bad idea. I wouldn't, didn't have one. But the issue really isn't that important to me, if most people want them. If that is the case, the 'rules' should be defined and included in the Law as a matter of urgency.

  • Comment number 23.

    Funny how pre-nups only became enforceable when it became a means of protecting a woman's money eh?
    What's the betting this precedent won't be followed when a female gold-digger is chasing a nice pay-off?

  • Comment number 24.

    "21. At 12:52pm on 20 Oct 2010, Kate no mates wrote:
    I think if there are vast sums of money at stake that only 1 of the party has at the beginning of the relationship, although unromantic and pessimistic, it's the only route to go down.
    I've read too many 'gold-digger' stories that seem grossly unfair to the immediate family and reward the 'spouse' of only a few months or years"
    ======================================================================

    Presumably the "vast sums of money" belong to one of the pre-nuptial parties, and not to their family, otherwise the other pre-nuptial party wouldn't have any claim. So, it's their money and therefore it's up to them what they do with it. If they marry a gold-digger then more fool them!

    And if the sums of money really are vast, I have no sympathy for the 'loser'. If someone 'loses' half of their multi-million pound fortune, they've still got more than enough for a very comfortable lifestyle. No sympathy whatsoever.

  • Comment number 25.

    Should pre-nuptial agreements be binding?
    Any written "agreement" should be binding. Why else make a written "agreement".
    Unlike other European countries English law does not generally recognise pre-nuptial agreements.
    Why?
    A written agreement is a written agreement.
    Like all agreements, pre-nuptials should be revisited during the course of the agreement/marriage to ensure the ongoing contentment of both parties with the pre-nuptial.
    The Law Commission is due to report in 2012 on whether a change in the law should be made to ensure pre-nuptial agreements are fully enforceable. Sounds like the right think to do.
    It's rather sad in this day and age, don't you think, that we are debating pre-nuptial enforceability, but think nothing of discarding the other bonds that were sworn on the day of marriage e.g. "to have and to hold till death do us part"?
    Well, I guess we need to have priorities.

  • Comment number 26.

    @fishinmad You're absolutely right. This is probably the first situation where a woman was better off if a pre-nup was enforced. God alone knows how many have been ignored where a viciously grasping golddigger was claiming half her husband's wealth, even if it had pre-dated their marriage.

  • Comment number 27.

    if a prenump is not valid, why should any legally binding contract be valid? i may sound a little jaded but considering that first world women use marriage and divorce as career moves, i'm a little spooked. i think the romance is totally gone in the first world anyway. i wouldn't be surprised to see permits and taxes for sex.

  • Comment number 28.

    Pre nups are important if 1 side of a partnership has a substantial amount money - Recent celebrity divorces have proved that.

    Where children are concerned the rich partner should pay for their upbringing but I do not agree with partners claiming divorce money to simply maintain their own lifestyle as has happened so often - remember the Geordie model who married the rich music man from Liverpool?

    For somebody like me who doesn't have much money its not necessary.


  • Comment number 29.

    If somebody went through all the trouble to make an agreement there is no reason it should not be valid. The judge should however take into consideration any abuse, adultery or other illegal activities into consideration if the agreement needs to be annulled or watered down.

  • Comment number 30.

    What is the point of them at all if they are not binding?

    The problem is the misuse of the statutory rights that can override them, e.g. the entitlement to so-called child support (in many cases nothing of the sort, but ex-wife support, the children getting whatever's left that she feels like spending on them).

    Then there are the so-called property and financial "agreements" that are reached before a divorce is granted, where the parent with residence of the children holds a gun to the other's head regarding access, to get them to concede to anything.

    Still, I'm sure whatever happens the lawyers will make a very good return.

  • Comment number 31.

    "Should English law recognise pre-nuptial agreements?"

    I've got my doubts as to whether English law should even recognise marriage - it seems to mean nothing but trouble for both parties...

  • Comment number 32.

    I am reading a book, written in England in 1791 where an about to be married couple sign a 'settlement' or pre-marital legal contract. The footnote says that these 'secured rights to the wife who without them would be wholly depedent on her husband's favour for an annual income or financial support after his death' so they have been around a long time.

    In this particular case, given that neither party is British and the pre-nuptial agreement was not signed in this country, I wonder if these proceedings have resulted in any cost to the state and British taxpayers?

  • Comment number 33.

    I'm wondering whether the same result would have occurred if it has been a woman seeking a slice of the man's fortune, rather than the other way around.

    If pre-nuptials are not binding, then what is the point of having them? A contract is a contract.

  • Comment number 34.

    Perhaps the best thing would be to simply ban marriage, after all, 100% of divorce is caused by this.

    I think the sum total of human happiness could only increase.





  • Comment number 35.

    In South Africa most people opted for an ante-nuptual contract. You both share in the wealth accumulated during marriage. if each of you owned property before the marriage, it remains in your respective names you each conduct your own independent financial affairs, if one of you goes into debt, it cannot be claimed from the estate of the other in the case of divorce, any assets made whilst married are shared – it doesn’t matter who acquired them; each partner’s current net asset value is calculated by subtracting all liabilities from assets the ANC can be tailored to suit your needs, it especially protects fairly, the partner who remains at home to care for the family.

  • Comment number 36.

    2. At 12:05pm on 20 Oct 2010, Harwode Magna wrote:
    Well, HM Government's pre-retirement agreement with me, to increase my pension in line with the Retail Price Index, hasn't proved binding, so why should any other form of legal document?


    Well said!

  • Comment number 37.

    I wonder if the court would've came to the same decision had it been a man asking a woman to sign a pre-nuptial?
    Double standards yet again, and another white heterosexual male gets shafted by the system.

  • Comment number 38.

    In the eyes of the Supreme Court a 'pre-nuptial' is not superceded by a later 'nuptial', so the 'pre-nuptial' is actually the 'nuptial', and yet, if I do not sign the 'pre-nuptial' I cannot get to the 'nuptial'.

    Alice in Wonderland or yes, the law is an ass.

  • Comment number 39.

    Pre-nups should be taken into account in most circumstances, but sometimes circumstances change. Having children is one such example. The welfare of the children needs to be taken into account. But in a straightforward case you should stick to the agreement. If you're not happy with it you shouldn't have signed it.

    I don't see what romance has to do with it. Romance is something separate to the pre-nup. It's just putting in writing what will happen in the event of the marruage failing. It's not planning for failure, it's just an insurance policy. Most people have an insurance policy that will pay out if their hous burns down, but that doesn't mean they are planning for it to burn down, it just means they are taking precautions in case it happens.

    A pre-nup wouldn't be necessary in most cases because many people marry when they are young and don't have significan't assets. But why would someone with a huge fortune risk half it it going to someone who just married them for their money. Signing a pre-nup in these circumstances proves that the marriage is more for love not money. If someone brings no money to the relationship and they have no money at the end of it they aren't any worse off.

  • Comment number 40.

    There's a lot of cyncism surrounding pre nups

    The advice I was given was "No matter who you marry, it is always a gamble. Everybody changes, it's whether you change together"

    I think they are a good idea and should be fair and binding.

    Can any of us truly say we are the same people now compared to 25 years ago, with experiences, good and bad, moulding us?

  • Comment number 41.

    Yes Pre-nups should be binding. Its freely entered into, if you don't like it don't get married. It helps protect people from Gold diggers.
    It may not be romantic but its better than getting skinned someone should ask Mr McCartney what he thinks of them !

  • Comment number 42.

    Pre nups is not a very good way to start a life together especially if your money means more than your relationship.Lets face it who would be stupid enough to marry someone who you suspect may be more interested in what you got rather than who you are.Isnt the modern world great?

  • Comment number 43.

    26. At 1:30pm on 20 Oct 2010, Fnurgle wrote:
    "...a viciously grasping golddigger was claiming half her husband's wealth, even if it had pre-dated their marriage".
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Only half? Where've you been? For ordinary folk the property claim is typically 66-100% when there are children to be housed. The Court is likely to award this rather than have the public pay housing benefit. Funny how it's made over to the ex-wife, rather than held on trust for the kids, though.



  • Comment number 44.

    "
    14. At 12:28pm on 20 Oct 2010, suzie127 wrote:

    If you think you need a pre-nup then you shouldn't be getting married.
    "

    Fair point. But it's a sign of the times I'm afraid to say.

  • Comment number 45.

    Personally, I wouldn't marry anyone who trusted me so little and who thought the sharing of my life had no value. Actually, I wouldn't marry anyone anyway - most men still view women as unpaid housekeepers

  • Comment number 46.

    Fnurgle wrote:

    @fishinmad You're absolutely right. This is probably the first situation where a woman was better off if a pre-nup was enforced. God alone knows how many have been ignored where a viciously grasping golddigger was claiming half her husband's wealth, even if it had pre-dated their marriage.
    ***************************************************************
    Perhaps there should be a percentage penalty for breaking marriage vows - say a 25% forfeit of the total household worth for such transgressions as infidelity, divorcing for trivial reasons such as *boredom* or unreasonable behaviour? Oh no...wait,that won't work for you either ..very few women would have to pay such forfeits .....

  • Comment number 47.

    I met my future wife, and we earned the same amount of money. She wanted to do a PHD to improve her employment prospects. I became the sole provider for us (no children by the way), I fed, clothed, housed, paid her course fees and even did all the housework while she studied.

    When she qualified in her chosen profession, she refused to make the most of her qualifications, preferring to work part-time (less than 16 hrs a week) doing a job that required no higher educational qualifications. All the while she studied, to enable her to pursue her career choices I was forced, out of necessity, to work extra hours, to earn more money to buy the scissors to cut the cloth to fit our household economy.

    She then divorced me, and because I was earning more than her (despite having paid for her education that went un-utilised and keeping her in beauty appointments, cigarettes, holidays, food and clothes for 5 years) the court awarded her 70% of the home that I’d bought and paid for before meeting her. She was also awarded a monthly salary until my death of £1.5k (linked to inflation). Additionally, when I retire she’ll get 50% of my pensions and should I die between now and then she’ll benefit from my life insurance……and pension.

    I wish I’d taken out a pre-nup but was advised against it because they weren’t or aren’t legally binding.

    Perversely, when the subject of a pre-nup was raised prior to our wedding, she said that if I loved her, I wouldn’t ask her to sign such a document. What could I say?

    A pre-nup may sound morally wrong or may even offend someone of a religious or puritan nature. However, a pre-nup ensures that people are marrying for the right reason…..for love. It will ensure that nobody should financially benefit from marriage. Should I marry again I’ll certainly use a pre-nup although I don’t really see the point. I’ve nothing left to lose having already been fleeced for all I’m worth and am likely to be worth.

    Any millionaire ladies out there want a good looking and only slightly worn gentleman with a good career and money-grubbing ex-wife? I didn’t think so.

  • Comment number 48.

    It is typical of lawyers' arrogance that there is any question of NOT abiding to the terms of a contract freely entered into by two adults.

    Isn't the whole point of having a contract in the first place that it's only there to protect both parties if things go wrong.

    Right now I'm writing a bit of fiction under contract to a publisher. We don't need it: he knows I deliver on time, I trust him to cough up once he's got my work. But if either of us reneged on the agreement, we have the contract to protect us.

    If you don't like the idea, don't agree to one. But if you do, stand by your word. Only dishonourable people renege on their word, contract or not!

  • Comment number 49.

    Anyone who feels the need for a pre-nup must not expect a marriage to last, so why enter into it? Solicitors might as well hand out marriage certificates when the pre-nups are signed so the couple does not need to go through the charade of the vows.

  • Comment number 50.

    #39 Bangkok Swan puts a hard edge on things with "What has romance to do with it?"

    Have you no heart?

    Of course romance is important unless you are together with someone just for convenience or lust and then why get married?

    Of course love can be dangerous as well as passionately all consuming. It can blind us to the present but blind us to the future? Suerly no one sees what lies ahead but isn't romance about building upon what you have? If the foundation is good then so are your chances of seeing a partnership through to the finish. If the foundation is poor then what on earth are you cconsidering marriage for?

    A pre-nuptial is a shaky foundation for a marriage, and personally I wouldn't entertain going any further with such a relationship.

    So whilst I applaud your effort in defending the indefensible you score zero on my personal relationship chart. Stick with commitment phobia it is less costly with lawyers.

  • Comment number 51.

    "All that I am I share with you, and all that I have, I give to you..."

    Pre-nups make a mockery of marriage. Should be thrown out.

  • Comment number 52.

    14. At 12:28pm on 20 Oct 2010, suzie127 wrote:

    "If you think you need a pre-nup then you shouldn't be getting married."

    Recommended!

  • Comment number 53.

    Couples should be able to choose to have a prenuptial if they wish.

    But what is more important, in this particular case, is that no one should be able to shop around to find a legal system which suits their case. If two people sign an agreement, it should have the effect that they expected it to have at the time they signed.

    British courts should refuse to hear cases like this, when there is another jurisdiction capable of dealing with it more fairly. It demeans the British judicial system to allow it to be abused in this way.

  • Comment number 54.

    If the two parties agree to it, the agreement is appropriately witnessed and filed with a Solicitor, then I don't see a problem with the document being viewed as legally binding.
    Not sure I would want an arrangement like that, when the facility exists to have someone terminated for about £1000. Far cheaper to "remove" the problem.
    Joking aside, it seems common sense to allow adults this facility.

  • Comment number 55.

    4. At 12:07pm on 20 Oct 2010, Neil Probert wrote:
    The best option is to marry someone of similar intellect and sense of humour.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Any pre-nuptial agreement, which insisted that one's wife had a sense of humour, would be broken thirty seconds into the Best Man's speech.


  • Comment number 56.

    If a pre-nuptual agreement is to have any validity then it must be enshrined in law. The whole concept suggests a basic lack of romantic trust which indicates that marriage may not be a wise move in the first instance?

  • Comment number 57.

    YES...keeps those scrounging politicians out of religious marriage affairs and frees up the courts to provide justice for the 16 million who don't get it now!

  • Comment number 58.

    What is the point of an agreement if it is not binding - the only people who benefit are the lawyers -who must be laughing all the way to the bank !!

  • Comment number 59.

    Surely any agreement made between two parties and signed in the presence of a solicitor should be legally binding otherwise what it the point? Is this not a contract between two parties? Is it so much different to any other legally binding contract? As long as both parties enter into it voluntarily I can see no reason why it should not be deemed legally binding.

  • Comment number 60.

    What point is there to any agreement if it is not binding on the parties involved? If pre-nuptial agreements have no value, why do couples make them?

  • Comment number 61.

    What better way to tell someone you love them than to own them via a contract? The nieve marry because its the done thing and others marry for the perception of security. The best proof of this is the divorce statistic where the oath of marriage for life is worthless.

    For those fooling themselves they are marrying for god, why do you sign a contract afterwards? That has nothing to do with god and can only be interpreted as a lack of trust.

    I am sure there are a lot of married people who dont want to think about it (they do if they want to divorce though!) and will complain about the above, yet there is nobody who can defend the contract as anything more than distrust.

    So I dont see why a pre-nup is a problem and I think it is a very sensible thing to have if your entering the contract. It is a failsafe to make sure that the spiteful feelings at the end of a marriage wont turn the consenting adults into squabbling children.

  • Comment number 62.

    Loyalty seems to be something that's out of fashion these days, it doesn't matter what the situation is, you can't count on loyalty. On that basis probably, most marriages will bite the dust at some time. So, it seems reasonable to me for each party to declare their assets prior to the marriage date and when the divorce happens (as night follows day, it's a certainty it will), the only thing to split equally is the couples acquisitions since the date of the wedding. Having said that, the wife will probably have had a good go at his pre-marriage assetts before the poo hits the fan, yu no wot am sayin?

  • Comment number 63.

    I think it all depends what kind of marriage you are speaking of. Of course marriage is not entered into lightly and from the Christian perspective, A man and woman must have God in the centre of their lives together. So it is all there in the marriage vows ' For better or worse richer or poorer, in sickness and in health' in other words face together what life brings and 'What God has joined together let no man put asunder'. However the way I see other marriages it should read 'Until I get fed up with you or find a better partner' then yes you do definitely need to get all your finances securely 'prenuptuled' in case you are desserted.

  • Comment number 64.

    It's not clear from this story in which country the original pre-nuptual agreement was made.
    If it were originally made in Germany I don't see why the British courts should even be asked to make a ruling.
    If an agreement was made in Germany, or France and one of the parties to the agreement is in breach it should be something sorted out in the country where the original agreement was made.

  • Comment number 65.

    49. At 3:31pm on 20 Oct 2010, SarahEllacott wrote:

    Anyone who feels the need for a pre-nup must not expect a marriage to last, so why enter into it? Solicitors might as well hand out marriage certificates when the pre-nups are signed so the couple does not need to go through the charade of the vows.

    --------------------------

    The part you forget is that by getting married you demonstrate a lack of trust in your partner. Why bind her to you by contract if you both love each other?

    The fact that you can divorce anyway turns marriage into a false sense of security. If you trust your partner then surely a contract is unnecessary?

  • Comment number 66.

    47. At 3:25pm on 20 Oct 2010, Peddington wrote:

    My heart goes out to you and men like you because you have been well and truly shafted by these feminist man haters. However, men need to be men now a days and stand up for what is right. In a lot of cases it is the man's own fault for choosing such a woman as his life long partner.

  • Comment number 67.

    51. At 3:42pm on 20 Oct 2010, Will wrote:
    "...Pre-nups make a mockery of marriage. Should be thrown out."
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Ha ha! Many marriages make a mockery of marriage!



  • Comment number 68.

    I think it depends on how long a couple has been married. If the divorce occurs after 30 years of marriage I think a much bigger part of the fortune should be considered 'joint assets' than if a couple divorces after 3 years of marriage. Similarly, if one party gives up or changes their career for the benefit of the family, this should also be taken into account. Otherwise, you get into a pre-nup with your eyes open and you shouldn't be able to move somewhere else and not have it count.

  • Comment number 69.

    "
    45. At 3:12pm on 20 Oct 2010, Bibi wrote:

    Actually, I wouldn't marry anyone anyway - most men still view women as unpaid housekeepers
    "

    I guess everyone's with that statement then ;-)

  • Comment number 70.

    63. At 4:28pm on 20 Oct 2010, prexiousMary wrote:

    I think it all depends what kind of marriage you are speaking of. Of course marriage is not entered into lightly and from the Christian perspective, A man and woman must have God in the centre of their lives together. So it is all there in the marriage vows ' For better or worse richer or poorer, in sickness and in health' in other words face together what life brings and 'What God has joined together let no man put asunder'. However the way I see other marriages it should read 'Until I get fed up with you or find a better partner' then yes you do definitely need to get all your finances securely 'prenuptuled' in case you are desserted.

    -------------------------

    My partner comes from a christian family with very strict grandparents and (lucky for me) a little less strict parents. Her mother is the driving force for catholicism in their family and forces her kids to church etc. When I moved away with her daughter I got engaged to her so the stricter religious family would be less hostile to it, but I aint getting married to her and she knows it (I stated it to her and her parents clearly).

    Her mother occasionally resurects the conversation of getting married and I tell her no chance. The funny part is that she spoke to me of divorcing her husband and occasionally still hints to leaving him (to which I convince her not to). I have seen many other examples too but it would seem that even god cannot keep people together. I wouldnt be surprised if their relationship would have fallen through without my 'guidence'.

    I dont believe in marriage but I do believe in a partner for life

  • Comment number 71.

    65. At 4:35pm on 20 Oct 2010, in_the_uk wrote:
    The part you forget is that by getting married you demonstrate a lack of trust in your partner. Why bind her to you by contract if you both love each other?

    The fact that you can divorce anyway turns marriage into a false sense of security. If you trust your partner then surely a contract is unnecessary?
    -------------------------

    The very suggestion that anyone would marry someone because they do not trust them is absurd. I trust my husband more than anyone else in my life. When we married, the signing of the contract (as you put it) was just a formality, in other words, us signing it was to make sure it was recognised by our country, our government. I took and still do take my vows extremely seriously. I married for life, not till I decided I was bored of my husband. Therefore, for me, a pre-nup is unnecessary and if anyone else married with the same views I did, then a pre-nup would not be necessary. Oh and by the way, I am a child of divorced parents, so to most people, it is amazing I feel the way I do about marriage.

    But does anyone know how many people who sign prenups actually stay married for life? I doubt the number is very high.

  • Comment number 72.

    45. At 3:12pm on 20 Oct 2010, Bibi wrote:
    Personally, I wouldn't marry anyone who trusted me so little and who thought the sharing of my life had no value. Actually, I wouldn't marry anyone anyway - most men still view women as unpaid housekeepers
    ----------------
    The funny thing is that this is an heiress enforcing a prenup against her husband. How did she view her husband?

  • Comment number 73.

    "Lord Phillips, president of the Supreme Court, said the courts would still have the discretion to waive any pre-nup or post-nup agreement, especially when it was unfair to any children of the marriage."

    I assume this is legal-speak for "any man claiming protection under a pre-nup will find it disallowed, but any woman will not." Yet more sexism from our useless 'justice' system.

  • Comment number 74.

    Marriage is a legal contract, however you dress it up with love or religion or a party. It is a legally binding contract and can only be nulified by another contract (divorce). That is why you sign your at the ceremony. If you have an additional contract, a pre-nup, this should carry equal legal weight and be as binding as the marriage contract itself. Otherwise what is the point of any legal document?

  • Comment number 75.

    People on here who think it is unromantic are strange. The whole point of a marriage is to sign on the dotted line. It is a legal contract. That is why you are there in your best clobber, it is to sign that contract, all the rest is fluff.
    Prenups prove that the person marrying you is only interested in you, not what you have. There is nothing more romantic than that.
    I wonder at the people who object to it are the sort of people who marry for gain. There's a lot of you, judging by the comments on here.

  • Comment number 76.

    Should pre-nuptial agreements be binding?

    Don't know I've never eaten one.



  • Comment number 77.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/5056489/Nearly-half-of-children-born-out-of-wedlock-official-figures-show.html

    Almost half of all children born in the UK are born out of wedlock and the marriage rate is the lowest on record. I would say just as they are accepted, prenuptial agreements are set to become irrelevant as people nowadays have fallen out of love with the institution of marriage.

  • Comment number 78.

    Pre-Nuptial Agreements smack of marriages of convenience, what they are for basically.

  • Comment number 79.

    71. At 5:01pm on 20 Oct 2010, SarahEllacott wrote:

    The very suggestion that anyone would marry someone because they do not trust them is absurd. I trust my husband more than anyone else in my life. When we married, the signing of the contract (as you put it) was just a formality, in other words, us signing it was to make sure it was recognised by our country, our government. I took and still do take my vows extremely seriously. I married for life, not till I decided I was bored of my husband. Therefore, for me, a pre-nup is unnecessary and if anyone else married with the same views I did, then a pre-nup would not be necessary. Oh and by the way, I am a child of divorced parents, so to most people, it is amazing I feel the way I do about marriage.

    But does anyone know how many people who sign prenups actually stay married for life? I doubt the number is very high.

    ---------------------------------

    Thanks for the response, I knew someone would and I am not trying to cheapen your marriage by my observations. In fact I ask this question occasionally (much more when I was younger) and no good answer has ever been given.

    I accept that people get married with the honest and pure intention. But when I ask them to think about the point of getting married and why it felt necessary, I often provide a perspective people dont think about, or dont want to think about.

    Statistics for staying married are poor regardless but I too would be interested to see if there is any difference with a pre-nup. In this country they are almost worthless anyway and so are irrelivant here.

    You say you married to formalise the relationship to the government and country. But why is it necessary to broadcast your relationship? Do you tell the gov what you eat? Do you tell them what colour you paint the house?

    Why does the gov need to know unless its for tax perks and such? If that is the reason I am not arguing against the idea but it isnt for love, its for the perks of the contract.

    Or is it a statement to other women that your man is taken? This would be an ownership argument plus a demonstration of how he may be taken from you if you dont own him.

    I dont want you to take offence but I am interested in why people marry. And the best answer I have ever heard is that its the 'done thing' (social manipulation and nievity).

  • Comment number 80.

    27. At 1:44pm on 20 Oct 2010, leroy wrote:
    if a prenump is not valid, why should any legally binding contract be valid?
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    My understanding is that because it's a common law agreement, the parties can seek Court "clarification" or "interpretation" of its terms, as one can with say, a contract of employment. However, why the Courts seem to assume such wide discretionary powers in these cases is unclear to me, but there may also be conflicting rulings from other cases, or indeed overriding Statutes.

  • Comment number 81.

    The issue is not whether pre-nups are good/bad, right/wrong, or legal or not, but whether anyone else has the power to over-ride them.

    It is also an important issue to find out who has denied us the rights to use pre-nups as a way of avoiding gold-diggers.

    I would like to make it possible for all people who suffered as a consequence of being forced to expose their assets to a gold-digging partner, to be compensated by the people who forced this upon them. Judges and MP's! They should personally be forced to recompense those who lost any of their assets because they were denied the right to adequately protect them.

  • Comment number 82.

    This is a step forward in clarifying English law which is broken, unfair,and female centric. where the courts admit 80% of divorce settlements are in the women favour...where men can't see their children...

    The current matrimonial law wastes our court services money,taxpayers money, and trumatises children whilst parents fight.Whilst crime and corruption is not tackled.

    This cannot come soon enough to get social Britian back on its feet.

  • Comment number 83.

    So, it took this long, and a claim on an heiress' belongings, before this is sorted.
    Never occurred to the law to sort itself out when just the commoners were getting hit by it then?

  • Comment number 84.

    73. At 5:06pm on 20 Oct 2010, Bothashill wrote:
    "...Yet more sexism from our useless 'justice' system".
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Yes. But for decades, while men have been talking about cars and football, women's magazines have been full of in-depth articles on "family" law, with constant updates on how the lobbying was going. They organised and got the law, and judicial guidelines, changed in their favour. It also made this an electoral issue for the political parties.

    Perhaps the most difficult aspect for men is the burden of proof. I'm not sure if this is still current, but a while back it was ruled that, because of the danger to children in abuse cases, where a man's evidence did not agree with a woman's in family law generally, that the woman was to be believed. This placed the burden of proof on a man in all aspects of a contested case. If for example, he truthfully stated that his wife engaged in prostitution, he would have to prove this. However, if his wife falsely stated he verbally abused her, he would also have to prove she was lying. In open court, furthermore.

    In that sense my understanding is that men and women are not, as a matter of fact, equal before the law in family matters. Perhaps someone can update the position though.




  • Comment number 85.

    Only if they are consistently enforced and each party has separate counsel. Unfortunately in the US, women can basically say "tee hee, I'm just a girl" and it won't be enforceable. Like in other areas, the court system treats women like children.

  • Comment number 86.

    Pre-Nups are appropriate in common-law relationships where people get together Casually for whatever reason and whatever length of time, but are not NOT appropriate for Marriages because it is actually Planning for Devorce.

    If one party feels a pre-nupt is essential (DOUBTS), then they definitely shouldn't get married.

    What NEEDS to be changed is the Law cementing Common-Law with same rights as Marriage after 3(Three) Years. I've know many people, especially men, who allowed younger women to move-in on a Casual basis, only to find themself ENSNARED in a Common-Law Relationship after Three short Years, and having to Sell their Homes to SPLIT the Assets on Seperation shortly after the qualifying period.
    I've also met women who've done this three and four times before their fiftieth birthday.
    It's as simple as using the Homeowner's address for Official Mail, and sleeping over few times weekly for over Three years.

  • Comment number 87.

    Prenuptual agreements detract from the spontanaity of love and marriage. They are a recognition that the pleasure of the union may not last. Couples enter into these agreements never expecting them to become an issue. They should be WELL THOUGHT OUT and if the marriage does not work then the agreements should be enforced. To turn one's back on an agreement is to say that the person doing so cannot be trusted to keep their word.

  • Comment number 88.

    A marriage is a contract, and as with most contracts, pre-nuptial agreements should be a requirement and should be binding.

  • Comment number 89.

    If you genuinely love someone unconditionally and you believe in the strength of your love and the future of your relationship, so much so that you choose to marry, WHY do you feel the need to write a pre nuptial aggreement? To me, the necessity for such an agreement, in a relationship, is the very reason why that couple should not marry. It is all about trust. If, however, you are cheated on or abandoned by your spouse, this fact should prevent them from gaining financially from the marriage and should be a large consideration for any court. If that was the case, there would be no need for a pre nuptial agreement in the first place.

  • Comment number 90.

    I've got a better idea. Let's just do away with marriage. That way we won't have any use for pre-nups.

    I'm not talking about lifelong monogamy, I'm all in favour of that, but what IS marriage anyway? Most people would say that it's a commitment to spend your life with someone you love, but it's not really, is it? If it was really a meaningful commitment then there wouldn't be such a huge divorce rate. The moment we even consider that a pre-nuptial agreement might be necessary we have already accepted that no true commitment exists and hence removed the whole point of marriage.

    So at best, marriage is just a party and a piece of paper.

    At worst, it's a layer of social control whereby the church/state sanctions your choice of life partner.

    Marriage is an anachronism. Bin it and move on.

  • Comment number 91.

    #79 - IntheUK......

    I didn't marry for any reasons you suggested, but I do believe there are some people who do. Marriage is just something I have believed in all my life despite my parents being divorced. It is part of my beliefs and faith (yes I am Christian as is my husband). I don't feel I should have to justify my reasons for choosing to marry as you shouldn't have to for choosing not to. However, I do feel the vows are just as legally binding as the signing of the contract, in fact they are the contract! Therefore, based on the vows said, wouldn't the marriage contact override a pre-nup?

  • Comment number 92.

    If you sign your name to it then it should be binding - too many people want to change the rules as they go along.

  • Comment number 93.

    Had this case involve a particularly wealthy man and a less well off ex wife I can bet you the prenup would not be valid. Prenups are only binding in this country if it is in favour of the women so don't kid yourself believing there is any precedent changes in the law.

  • Comment number 94.

    92. At 6:21pm on 20 Oct 2010, Sick_of_Layabouts wrote:
    If you sign your name to it then it should be binding - too many people want to change the rules as they go along.

    But the same can be said for marrige.

  • Comment number 95.

    If I bring a lady from Latvia and get a prenup with her before marrying she won't be able to get a penny from me if we divorced?

  • Comment number 96.

    The law is an ass.

  • Comment number 97.

    Yes, of course pre-nups should be binding. It is yet another symptom of this misandric country that pre-nups (which usually act to protect the man in the marriage) are not honoured.

    And all it means is less men will get married.

  • Comment number 98.

    93. At 6:24pm on 20 Oct 2010, hizento wrote:
    "Had this case involve a particularly wealthy man and a less well off ex wife I can bet you the prenup would not be valid. Prenups are only binding in this country if it is in favour of the women so don't kid yourself believing there is any precedent changes in the law."

    BINGO.

  • Comment number 99.

    45. At 3:12pm on 20 Oct 2010, Bibi wrote:
    "Personally, I wouldn't marry anyone who trusted me so little and who thought the sharing of my life had no value. Actually, I wouldn't marry anyone anyway - most men still view women as unpaid housekeepers"

    Personally, I don't think most women are sexist. But from your comment above, you definitely are.

  • Comment number 100.

    A pre-nup agreement drawn up in the presence of a lawyer should be binding. These agreements should be registered at the Law Courts. If couples are prepared to go the full length, they jolly well know what they are signing up to. They need to act as adults and not treat the law in a frivolous way.

 

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