Just how binding are Pre-nuptial Agreements in the British Courts? Well a recent ruling of the High Court on a French pre-nuption agreement pretty much spells it out.

The case involved a wealthy French couple who married in France in 1994, having entered into a pre-nuptial agreement. The couple moved to London and sometime later got divorced, during which the split of the family assets (which amounted to £15 million) needed to be decided, and that’s where the arguing started. The wife claimed that the pre-nup should be ignored and the assets should be shared equally, with a maintenance agreement for £40,000 per year for each of their three children. The husband argued that the assets should be split according to the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement, with a smaller maintenance payment.”

The court ruled that the pre-nuptial agreement should be relied upon and that the assets should be divided so as to give the wife a fund of £2.2 million (sufficient to provide maintenance of £100,000 per annum for life), together with the assets she had introduced to the marriage and an additional sum of approximately £4 million to fund the purchase of a property for her to live in. Emma Briggs comments: “According to the judgement in this case, whilst pre-nups are not strictly binding, the courts will place a lot of reliance on them.”

If you feel you may need advice on a family matter, Oglethorpe Sturton & Gillibrand can advise you. Call our family department on 01524 846846 for further information.

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