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Philip Barnsley  

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Is society ready for pre-nups?

 

Article date:  08/11/2010

On the eve of what could be a landmark case for divorce law, new research from a leading Midlands law firm suggests that the UK is ready to adopt legally binding pre-nuptial agreements.

Higgs & Sons questioned 200 people for their opinion of pre-nuptial agreements, with some surprising results.

Philip Barnsley, head of Higgs & Sons' family department and Chair of Resolution West Midlands, said: "All the people we spoke to, a mixture of married, separated, divorced and remarried, said they did not currently have a pre-nuptial agreement in place. Of those who were divorced or separated 60 per cent said they wished that they had had one and 56 per cent of those who were married said they wished they had signed an agreement prior to their marriage.

"When we questioned people on whether pre-nups should now be legally binding in the UK, 92 per cent agreed that they should.

"We also asked everyone if they were to give a significant sum of money to their children, would they encourage them to have a pre-nuptial agreement with their partner.  Eighty eight per cent of people said they would encourage this."

A ruling by the Supreme Court on the case of Radmacher v Granatino is expected this week.

Philip explains: "The Supreme Court are being asked to decide whether the Court of Appeal erred in finding that pre-nuptial contracts ought to be given decisive weight, where entered into freely by both parties. Mr Granatino does not wish to be held to a pre-nuptial contract that was signed prior to their marriage which provides that neither party could make a monetary claim against the other in divorce proceedings.

"Pre-nuptial agreements are enforceable in Germany, where the couple's was signed, but not in the UK where they married. They are also enforceable in Mr Granatino's home country of France."

"It's thought that this case may pave the way for pre-nuptial agreements to finally become legally binding in the UK."

For specialist legal advice or to speak with Philip Barnsley or his team contact him directly on 0845 111 5050.

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