CHURCH CONDEMNS PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS IN THE UK – After more than four years of legal wrangling the proposals by the Law Commission for reforming marriage laws are now being considered by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.
The new prenuptial agreement laws, Matrimony Property, Needs and Agreements (prenups as they are commonly referred to in the U.S) are certainly causing a stir with the Roman Catholic Church with one Bishop, the Right Reverand Mark Davis, calling the move as little more than allowing people to plan for a divorce prior to getting married and which could threaten the sanctity of vows people take when committing to a life together in the eyes of God.
Prenuptial agreements are certainly nothing new but historically UK judges have ignored them and divided assets on a case by case basis.
Advocates of prenuptial agreements claim that they allow for couples to enter into wedlock without having to worry about the division or loss of assets in situations where the marriage breaks down and takes the decision to divide any assets out of the hands of a judge.
It appears that the Church is being dragged kicking and screaming into modern world and whilst it and its indoctrination would rather exist in a bygone era it is now evident that we live in a materialistic and consumerism environment where possessions are sometimes viewed as the all important factor in our lives.
Is the Church right, should we forsake the idea of prenuptial agreements for the sanctity of the vows we take… for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health?
If a prenuptial agreement is being sought by either party what message does such an act or rather a requirement suggest? The only real conclusion is one of material possession over the vows of marriage which strongly indicates that we are more inclined to think about our assets over our ability to work at a marriage.
Certainly marriage is not easy and takes an inordinate amount of mutual respect, trust and understanding but there has been an historical rise in divorce rates and there are more people now inclined just to live with one another in order to avoid the complications of a divorce if the relationship breaks down.
The issue of a prenuptial agreement and their validity in the English courts was challenged during 2010 in the Supreme Court when a judge ruled that German heiress Katrin Fadmacher should keep her £100 million fortune after her being granted a divorce in accordance with the prenuptial agreement that she and her husband signed.
The Law Commission is now set to suggest a new set of rules on how married couples should meet their genuine financial needs after a divorce is granted.
Any change to the existing laws will not come about until after the next General Election but it’s likely the Law Society would embrace the introduction of prenuptial agreements in order to protect their clients assets and increase their profits – yes the lawyers always appear to come out on top regardless to how a particular case is decided by the courts.
If such a change is permitted the current consensus on the cost of drafting a prenuptial agreement is likely to be in the region of £750 but many seeking such an agreement will consider this as a small price to pay for peace of mind if the relationship irrevocably breaks down.