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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law 

Divorce lawyer in psychic power shocker

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I won't keep you many minutes. I am very much in demand now as a seer and wise man. There may even be a TV special with Derren Brown in the future. Can’t see it (clearly) though. Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but no sooner had I written my blog last week about the New Year predictions/resolutions/wish list than one of the items appeared to come true.

Within hours of me suggesting that a great thing to happen in 2011 would be for prenuptial agreements to get long-overdue legal backing, reports in the media suggested that is exactly what is being looked at by the Law Commission.

I have talked a number of times in these musings about living together agreements and pre-nups, as have colleagues of mine on the Woolley & Co website.

Some of these stemmed from the landmark ruling in the Radmacher case last year which gave Karin Radmacher, a German heiress, the right to withhold the vast majority of her £100 million fortune from her estranged husband – as set out in an original pre-nup but then challenged by her ex.
The Supreme Court ruling which ultimately backed the terms of the agreement sent out a strong message that the courts should and would seriously consider all (correctly prepared) prenuptial agreements when a couple are dividing their assets on divorce, despite the fact that they currently have no actual legal status.

Stories in the paper last week suggest the Law Commission, the Government’s legal reform adviser, is now taking the next logical step and beginning a consultation exercise this week on all types of separation agreements. It will question whether the law needs to be changed and whether such deals should be made legally binding.

If these stories do turn out to be 100% accurate, it is the first step on a very long road. But it is a step in the right direction and one that ultimately, I feel, will address an anomaly that many other counties have already laid to rest.

There is a school of thought that suggests it may not happen because it suggests the Coalition Government will be seen as almost encouraging marriages to fail. Really? Surely they are simply accepting the reality of modern society and backing sound financial planning. And, anyway, they’ve just upped VAT to 20%. I think they have bigger PR battles to fight than this.

The time is right for something to happen on this and I for one will be following the progress of the consultation with interest.

Andrew Woolley
Family Solicitor

Prenuptial agreements - do I need one? - read more

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