Posted on 26th June 2008

Judith Welcomes Move to Make Pre-Nups Legal

It may not be the most romantic aspect of planning a wedding but prenuptial agreements could become an important part of preparations for the big day in the future, according to Judith Middleton, partner at Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks. Pre-nups are not, at the moment, binding in the UK although judges can take them into account during divorce proceedings. However, the Law Commission is to consider plans to bring the legal system in England and Wales in line with other countries. It will look at whether pre-nups should be upheld by the courts and under what circumstances. The commission hopes to produce a draft Bill on the issue by 2012. It will also consider whether agreements made after a marriage should be enforced in the courts. Divorce law has previously resisted allowing prenuptial contracts, which are popular in the United States, particularly among celebrities and the super-rich. But senior judges and lawyers believe that the system should be modernised and they should receive legal recognition. Judith said: I welcome the plans by the Law Commission to look at pre-nuptial contracts and their validity in divorce settlements. A prenuptial agreement can help clarify issues before they have a chance to turn into a source of dissension. At the very least it can help couples to talk through how to deal with a situation in a way that is fair to both parties. At present pre-nuptial agreements are persuasive in the courts but not strictly legally binding. The Law Commission will examine in what circumstances courts should uphold the increasingly popular contracts with the aim of drawing up a draft parliamentary Bill by 2012. Perhaps we will see less acrimonious splits, such as the recent McCartney Mills court case, and a trend towards a more amicable alternative to bitter divorce battles and that can only be good for everyone involved.