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Center of discussion in this paper is the case of Radmacher v Granatino that has drawn much attention because the High Court will be finally deciding how much weight it would place on the pre/ante-nuptial agreement in the area of financial relief during divorce. Pre-nuptial or ante-nuptial arrangement is typically sought by rich families, as in the case of Radmacher formerly Granatino v Granatino, to protect and preserve the assets of the wealthy party from a claim during divorce. The terms are typically spelled out on how their assets be divided or waiver of claim through a written agreement. Pre-nuptial or ante nuptial however is traditionally viewed by English law as non-binding because it is contrary to public policy. English Courts however have discretion to how to treat ante-nuptial agreements, on what weight should be placed on them and has the power to veer away from what was agreed on the ante-nuptial arrangement. This is especially so when there are children borne out of a long marriage. There are also other circumstances when the Courts could reinterpret or set aside the ante-nuptial agreement from its original arrangement in cases where there is an indication of duress on the weaker party to agree, may cause unfairness to one party, non full disclosure of assets, or where the parties involved was not able to get independent counsel on the various implications of the ante-nuptial arrangement before entering into the agreement….
The husband was a French national and the wife is a German national. The ante-nuptial agreement was signed three months before the marriage under German jurisdiction and specified that each party will keep their assets and that the other party will make no claim against the assets of the other in the event of a divorce. The wife had considerable wealth and inheritance before the marriage while the husband was a banker at the time the agreement was signed. The husband did not have an independent counsel about the implication of the ante-nuptial agreement. The agreement also contained no provision in the event that their marriage will have children. They were married in London in 1998. After eight years of marriage, the appellant and the respondent separated. Their marriage produced two daughters. During the dissolution of their marriage, the husband embarked on a research studies and had left his job as a banker and applied to the court for financial relief. The High Court then decided to grant him over ?5.5m which would enable him to have an annual income of ?100,000 for life. He was allowed to have a home in England so that his children could visit him. The wife appealed to the Court of Appeals where it was decided in favour of her to give weight to the ante-nuptial agreement where the financial relief should only be limited on the provision of him being a father and not for his own need. The husband then appealed to the Supreme Court. Decision Traditionally, English Courts do not put considerable weight to agreements between individuals who were getting married or already married4 (post-nuptial agreement) that specifies the contingency or terms of their separation on the grounds that this may encourage them to separate5.