In the UK, the Family Division of the High Court (Mostyn J) has dismissed a challenge by a wife to an agreement entered into prior to marriage which, among other things, defined her entitlement to maintenance in the event of a separation.  The marital difficulties had begun within a fairly short time of the marriage (the agreement was only 15 months old at the time of the wife’s application).   In holding the parties to the agreement, the Judge referred to Radmacher v Granatino and said that:  “given the important notice in its prominent font at the beginning of the document stating that it is intended to confirm separate property interests and to be determinative of the division of their assets, it must be obvious that the principal object of the exercise in this case (as indeed in every case where a nuptial agreement is signed) is to avoid subsequent expensive and stressful litigation; and it is for this reason, as will be seen, that the law adopts a strict policy of requiring the demonstration of something unfair before it will open the Pandora’s Box of litigation where there has been an agreement of this nature.”

The hearing of the substantive application for ancillary relief will follow later, but the judgment is significant, especially as the UK Law Commission is on the verge of delivering its report on the law relating to agreements including those in anticipation of divorce.

The bailii report of the judgment is here:

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