Landmark Ruling on Pre Nuptial Agreements

On 20 October 2010 the Supreme Court delivered the long awaited judgment in the case of Radmacher v Granatino.

Ms Radmacher is a very wealthy German Heiress thought to be worth in the region of £100 million.  Her ex husband Mr Granatino, a French national, had previously worked in the City as an investment banker but later stood down from this position to become a researcher at Oxford University.  The case centred on a prenuptial agreement the couple entered to in Germany in 1998.  That agreement sought to limit the husband’s claims against Ms Radmacher’s considerable wealth.

During the divorce proceedings Mr Granatino made an application to the English Courts for a financial settlement.  At first instance the agreement was taken into account and he was awarded £5.5 million.  Ms Radmacher appealed to the Court of Appeal and his award was reduced to just £1 million.  Mr Granatino then appealed this further to the Supreme Court.  But today the reduction was upheld and his appeal was dismissed by the justices at a majority of eight to one.

Today’s judgment shows that prenuptial agreements are seen as increasingly important by the judiciary and can help a couple to plan how their assets should be divided upon divorce.  Contrary to popular belief pre-nuptial agreements are relevant to all types of couples not just those who are extremely wealthy.  We have recently increasing instructions in this area in recent months and have significant expertise in this area.  If you are interested in discussing prenuptial agreements further please contact Paul Lancaster , a Partner in our Family Law Department on 0113 227 9233.

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