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Love me love my pre-nup
Article date: 29/04/2009
A leading divorce lawyer says that a case being heard in the
Court of Appeal this week between one of Germany's richest women
and her ex-husband has once again catapulted pre-nuptial agreements
back into the public eye.
Kelly Davies, a divorce lawyer at Higgs & Sons, says the case is being watched closely by legal advisors across the UK.
Lawyers for Katrin Radmacher, a paper industry heiress, were granted leave to appeal a High Court ruling which last year determined she should pay her ex-husband, former investment banker Nicolas Granatino, £5.6 million. The pre-nup was signed in Germany, although the couple married in London. If it is enforced, it would leave Frenchman Granatino without a penny of his ex-wife's £100 million fortune.
Kelly said: "Pre-nuptial agreements are currently not legal binding documents, but if entered into correctly they are a record of the parties' intentions and the courts must take them into account when considering the distribution of assets upon a divorce.
"In recent years the courts have upheld a number of agreements and have urged the government to introduce legislation to make them formally binding. Nowadays, those without a pre-nuptial agreement may be in a prejudicial position."
The Law Commission is about to begin a project looking into the use of pre-nuptial agreements in marriage and civil partnerships. The project is to begin in September 2009 with a report and draft Bill to be ready in September 2012.
Kelly said: "If Mrs Radmacher's appeal is successful, the ruling would have a significant impact on the enforceability of pre-nuptial agreements in the UK. It remains to be seen whether the Court of Appeal will uphold the terms of the agreement, which would see Mr Granatino walk away with nothing after an eight year marriage.
"It is of interest that Mr Granatino has hired Sir Paul McCartnery's divorce team to represent him in the case. Part of Mr Granatino's case is that the pre-nuptial agreement lacks two safeguards in that he did not receive any independent legal advice prior to signing the agreement and that Mrs Radmacher had not fully disclosed the full extent of her assets.
These safeguards have been fundamental requirements for a pre-nuptial agreement since the case of K v K in 2003. It is therefore extremely important that legal advice from a matrimonial specialist is sought prior to a pre-nuptial agreement being entered into. "
To find out how Kelly or members of the Higgs & Sons
family team can help you call 01384 342100.
Higgs & Sons operates from three locations; Brierley Hill, Stourbridge and Kingswinford.
Hazel Crawford-Upton, Connect PR,