It has been reported that Jennifer Aniston, who is soon to marry actor fiance Justin Theroux, has rejected a pre-nuptial agreement to protect her estimated £150 million fortune in the event that the couple separate. Jennifer has allegedly refused to enter into an agreement, which would be legally binding under the law in the US, because it’s unromantic.
The argument that pre-nuptial agreements are unromantic and in some way predetermine the demise of a marriage before it has even begun is well versed. Despite this, there seems to be a growing awareness in the UK about pre-nuptial agreements, and indeed post-nuptial agreements. We have certainly noticed an increase in enquiries from couples wanting to explore their options in this area prior to getting married.
It remains the case that pre-nuptial agreements are not legally binding in English and Welsh law. However, following the well-publicised case of Radmacher v Granatino, they do carry a certain level of weight in the Courts. As such, if a pre nup is in place, and it is deemed fair in the current circumstances of the couple and their family, it will usually be the default position from which a judge will decide a financial settlement.
Prenuptial agreements are becoming increasing popular when people enter into a second marriage, as Ms Aniston is, as a pragmatic way to protect any pre-acquired assets and limit legal fees if the marriage were to end in divorce. Post nuptial agreements offer similar protection but can be entered into after the marriage if the deadline to draw up an agreement prior to the marriage had passed.
By Antonia Love, Divorce Lawyer in Lancashire