Prenups in the UK/Eheverträge in GB

The UK Supreme Court will be making a decision in the case of Rademacher v. Granatino on the question of whether a prenuptial contract is valid under English law.

This has been in the public eye for some time now. If you’ve missed it, it might be interesting as an example of English law’s attitude to marriage contracts. It may or may not make prenuptial agreements more binding in England and Wales.

It’s quite common for marriage contracts to be recognized in German law, and also in French law. The parties are of German and French nationality, but because they mainly live in London, their divorce went to the English courts.

In Germany a person who does not want a notional 50-50 sharing of all marital property can enter into a prenuptial contract. But both spouses have to get legal advice. The contract will normally be binding.

In England and Wales, there may be a prenuptial contract, but the court will not feel bound by it. It retains discretion to divide the property fairly. It may follow the prenup if it seems fair.

Radmacher and Granatino agreed that if they divorced they would not make any claims against each other, only for the two children. There was neither independent legal advice (which there would have to be in Germany) nor did Katrin Radmacher disclose the millions she was about to inherit. Granatino also argues sexism in the current state of the proceedings (his award at first instance was greatly reduced by the Court of Appeal) because, he argues, a woman who had given up a well-paid job would have been treated more generously.

Guardian article
More links from John Bolch.

2 thoughts on “Prenups in the UK/Eheverträge in GB

  1. There’s no reason why the Supreme Court can’t apply German law and uphold the pre-nup.

    The principle of comity in international law suggests mutual respect and enforcement between civil and common law legal systems, whilst I have the impression that the English and German legal professions and courts have been taking a palpably closer interest in each other in recent years.

    It’s a pity, though, the status of foreign law in the UK is a mere rule of evidence and not applied as substantive law. Maybe this case will change that narrow approach that makes English solicitors very angry at European law conferences.

    • Yes, I hadn’t realized that the prenup was entered into in Germany and the reason the wife started proceedings for divorce in England was because she hadn’t lived in Germany for the necessary six months.

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