Pre-nups: unromantic or necessary?

Today German heiress Katrin Radmacher is seeking to escape paying £5.85million to her ex-husband as a result of a prenuptial contract they both signed four months before their wedding in 1998. Nicolas Granatino, 39, agreed he would not make any financial claim on his wife should their marriage collapse.

However, as the marriage fell apart in 2006, he was awarded £5.85 million by the High Court, with the judge saying that, although the contract would have been legally binding in Germany or France, such agreements are not so in the UK (where the couple wed).

The Court of Appeal overruled this judgement in 2009, and stated that the orginal prenuptial contract should be honoured.

Mr Granatino is challenging the Court of Appeal’s decision today.

The nature of such agreements will be tested at the Supreme Court today amid criticism that as prenuptial deals are not seen as binding in the UK, London is the most financially attractive place to separate from a wealthy spouse.

What are your thoughts on prenuptial agreements? Are they necessary and pragmatic? Or a romance killer?

16 Responses to “Pre-nups: unromantic or necessary?”

  1. 1 Julie P
    March 22, 2010 at 16:24

    Prenups keep attorneys in business.

  2. 2 steve
    March 22, 2010 at 16:32

    Given the state of marriage/divorce in the US, you’d be foolish to not have a prenup in the US, given the 50% divorce rate. The question is, will the prenup be enforced? Normally one side can “play dumb” and say they didn’t understand it, even while having an attorney to begin with.. Which is an insult to the concept of equality. You might want Paul mccartney on the show about whether he wished he had a prenup with Heather Mills, or was millions and millions of dollars the going rate for a few years of marriage?

  3. 3 Tony Palfrey
    March 22, 2010 at 16:37

    As we live in a country, the only one in the world, that offers to fix up any wife who leaves her husband on any whim she may choose, with an good income from the state and a new home if required, it is of little wonder that marriage here is little more than a temporary arrangement. Under these weak conditions the contract is almost meaningless and some precautions have to be made if the richer partner isn’t going to be fleeced also by the pro female courts. Our society in England has fallen into total disarray and has let our children down. Good luck to those who seek some protection knowing that statistically they don’t stand a chance if a marriage goes wrong. Maybe if the marriage contract was given more respect in the courts such arrangements would not be so often necessary.

  4. 4 steve
    March 22, 2010 at 16:43

    Actually Julie, Divorce keeps attorneys in business. A prenup would limit the amount of attorney work to be done.

  5. 5 Peter in jamaica
    March 22, 2010 at 16:48

    Prenuptial are, i think one of the worse things lawyers ever created. it tells the couple that they WILL be getting divorced. It may be in a few months or even after a few years or more but you will be getting divorced so keep your monies safe from your spouse buy signing this document.
    Marriage is about love and trust and if you don’t trust the person then don’t marry them. However if you do and the marriage didn’t work then both are entitled to whatever was acquired DURING the length of their marriage provided that they can prove that they contributed to whatever they were claiming for.

  6. 6 patti in cape coral
    March 22, 2010 at 16:57

    If you feel you need a prenup, you probably should not get married, IMO.

  7. 7 Bert
    March 22, 2010 at 17:10

    I’m with Patti. Why bother getting married at all, if you feel the need for a prenup? I mean, what advantages are there to being married these days, anyway, if you feel the need to protect yourself from a potential spouse? Just stay single, and you’ll have none of that to worry about.

  8. 8 viola
    March 22, 2010 at 17:41

    The law of the land trumps pre-nuptial agreements. Otherwise, they’re a great idea so no one can plead ignorance of the deal.

  9. 9 Cabe UK
    March 22, 2010 at 18:27

    This is a story of a heiress and a poor man who got married. Both agreed to have a pre-nupt, then had a couple of kids and then divorced. This man, who was not a ‘heiress’ before he married her – gave up a good paying job to go live the life of a millionaire. He is now no longer with this woman so has no real right to her inheritance which he helped her to use but did not help her to make, unless of course he alone is bringing up their kids. ??? Sharing in the money is good when people are ‘together’ but Why should he get any of her money after they separate?
    They argue that he did not fully know what was in the pre-nupt when he signed it but really, he had no real excuse NOT to get some sort of representation for himself before signing off such a controversial document.

    It looks like he did get what was agreed – but now wants some more? .. ???
    Normally I would be bored by such stupidity by both parties but I think in this case the heiress should stick to her guns! (we had the case of Sir Paul McCartney here not so long ago)

    Different people see love and marriage as different things. The big romantic story is not a reality for many many couples, who marry for all sorts of reasons nowadays and if both sides of a money-union they agreed to a pre=nupt then they should be happy with what they have agreed to if and when they divorce!

  10. 10 anna
    March 22, 2010 at 18:27

    you maybe really not get married if you consider a prenup as necessary but if you DID signed one… well than you cant make demands afterwards…

  11. 11 gary indiana
    March 22, 2010 at 22:31

    If one has sufficient worldly goods to make this desirable maybe one ought pick a spouse in a similar worldly goods ownership position. Then both could write and sign a mutually acceptable “you don’t anything of mine” sort of contract. Sounds really romantic doesn’t it? Personally, I think these documents are loads of rubbish and completely unnecessary as are there are cheaper (and more honest) ways to pay for sex. The bottom line here is: If you don’t know someone well enough to trust them, you shouldn’t be marrying them.

  12. 12 T
    March 22, 2010 at 23:24

    Maybe unromantic. But foolish if you don’t have one.

  13. 13 Subhash C Mehta
    March 23, 2010 at 06:33

    Romance with your eyes shut; make love with you eyes half-shut; but commit with your eyes wide-open. Moral: Love is not so blind after all.

  14. March 23, 2010 at 14:03

    I think its important for both partners in a marriage to know in advance where they will stand if the marriage breaks up , its commonsense grown up behaviour. It will concentrate the mind and make both partners digest the enormity of such a commitment and its possible consequences.

    We don’t buy a house, go abroad, drive a car or even die without an insurance policy we need one for a marriage and so I’m all for prenups for the rich and the poor because even the latter need to know who is going to pay for what after the divorce and these arrangements should have legal backing.

  15. 15 patti in cape coral
    March 23, 2010 at 15:29

    As Kirstie Alley said in For Richer or Poorer when her rich friends were shocked that she wasn’t asked to sign a prenup “At the time, there was nothing to nup.”

  16. 16 Ian
    March 25, 2010 at 07:13

    What were their wedding vows, I wonder?

    For example –
    “I _____, take you ______, to be my lawful wedded wife/husband. To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish ’till death do us part. And hereto I pledge you my faithfulness.”

    Enough said.

    By the way, most people shouldn’t need a prenup if they are marrying for traditional reasons of love, etc. However, some people do have to deal with issues such as family inheritances which they which to ‘ring-fence’ in trust for their children and specifically not lose if the marriage unfortunately ends in divorce you. For these few people, a prenup is both unromantic *and* necessary.

    The main point is to get married in a country which recognises prenups in law; that was the real issue behind this story. Unfortunately, as is their increasing tendency, the BBC prefers to ‘dumbdown’ the issue by concentrating on the populist/tabloid aspects of this case; a case which highlights serious issues with important legal/financial consequences – for those getting married in the UK and for the UK justice system.

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