Katrin Radmacher and Nicolas Grantino were both living in London when they met in a Mayfair nightclub in November 1997. Though they both came from wealthy families, Radmacher was significantly wealthier than Granatino. Prior to their marriage they signed a pre-nuptial agreement at the instigation of Radmacher. When they divorced in 2007, Granatino wished to ignore the terms of the pre-nuptial contract.
Largely upholding the agreement, the majority of the UK Supreme Court put forward the following test: ‘The court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with full appreciation of its implications unless the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement’ .
And were of the view that the needs of the husband did not render the agreement to be unfair on the basis that he was very capable, the relief granted to enable him to look after his two daughters indirectly met his needs for a period of time, and his debts had been cleared.
The Supreme Court decision in Radmacher v Granatino does not make pre-nuptial agreements binding, but this decision marks a point in history where such agreements became as close to binding as judge-made law can provide andbrings the law a step closer to enforcing pre-nuptial agreements.
While some may view such agreements as a negative development for women, many women would be in a better position to know what would happen if the marriage ends, prior to entering marriage than to have an unwelcome surprise later down the line, when little can be done.
The full version of this landmark is written by Marie Parker.
Andrew Hayward, ‘The Gender Dimension of Prenuptial Agreements: Radmacher v Granatino ’ (Inherently Human: Critical Perspectives on Law, Gender and Sexuality, 2 November 2010) https://inherentlyhuman.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/the-gender-dimension-of-prenuptial-agreements/
Andrew Hayward, ‘The Fairness in Enforcing a Broken Promise: Prenuptial Agreements’ (Human Rights in Ireland, 22 October 2010) http://humanrights.ie/children-and-the-law/the-fairness-in-enforcing-a-broken-promise-prenuptial-agreements/
BBC News, ‘Supreme Court Rules in Favour of Pre-Nuptial Agreement’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11580907
Owen Bowcott, ‘How London Earned its Status as Divorce Capital of the World’ The Guardian 3 March 2003 https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/mar/03/london-status-divorce-capital
Owen Bowcott, ‘Prenup Agreement Enforced Under UK Law’ The Guardian 20 Oct 2010 https://www.theguardian.com/money/2010/oct/20/prenuptial-agreement-enforced-uk-law