Pre-nup reform?

26 January 2011

Pre-nuptial agreements, which have growing in popularity over the last few years, are back in the spotlight after the Law Commission announced the results of its review of marital property agreements (encompassing pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements) at the beginning of this year. The Law Commission has set out a summary of the law as it currently stands and has asked people to inform them whether or not they believe that this area of law should be reformed and, if so, how?

Broadly speaking, the current state of the law is that parties may enter into agreements in the understanding that they will not be automatically binding but that, following the 2010 case of Radmacher and Granatino, unless other circumstances make it unfair to do so, such agreements will be upheld.

The Law Commission has emphasized that the law (whether it changes or remains the same) needs to balance the rights of people to organise their own financial affairs with the need to protect the weaker financial party and any children. Its own position (in this information gathering stage) is entirely neutral, but with supporters of each side of the debate arguing that their position supports the institution of marriage, it may become increasingly difficult for anyone to remain sitting on the fence.

Responses are invited from the general public, lawyers and any interested parties by 11 April 2011. To see the full consultation paper click on this link, which also provides details as to how to respond.

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