Not being a family lawyer, and having absolutely no plans to ever marry again now that I am deliriously single (My ex and I are good friends), I rarely take any interest in family law cases – leaving that to my friends over At Pink Tape, Family Lore and The Divorce Manual (Now Researching Reform)
The extensive judgment of The Supreme Court to my eyes, therefore, can be summed up in this way: “Fudge: Pre-nups are OK if we think they are OK but it is for Parliament to settle the matter.”
German heiress wins legal battle over pre-nuptial agreement
Katrin Radmacher, a German heiress, has won a Supreme Court case over her divorce which gives new status to pre-nuptial agreements.
The Telegraph reports: By a majority of eight to one, the justices dismissed the ex-husband’s appeal, saying that following their ruling “it will be natural to infer that parties entering into agreements will intend that effect be given to them”.
The justices said they agreed with the Court of Appeal that in the right case a pre-nup agreement can have decisive or compelling weight.
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 cannot, for the life of me see, in the 21st century, what business it is of the State or the judges to decide upon matters of divorce between consenting adults. I have no problem at all in the State intervening to ensure that children are looked after – because if the parents can’t do it humanely and sensibly it is only right that the state shoud step in.
For my part – marriage is a relationship and just as with any relationship, if the parties wish to have a degree of formality, can be subject to the law of contract. This is what a pre-nuptial agreement is. And for those who are concerned that this may be unfair because a wife or husband is pressured into it – the Law of Contract does provide relief by way of Duress and undue influence. Arrangements between consenting adults in the modern day should, if they wish it to be so, be regulated by the law of contract and not the idiosyncrasies of the values of a bygone era.
It will be interesting to see how many carpetbaggers, WAGS and Heat magazine readers will be marrying should pre-nuptial agreements gain more judicial favour. Marrying for money may not be quite such a sensible deal in future if the pre-nup is drafted properly?!