Despite the fact that there is no legal obligation for courts in England and Wales to take the prenuptial wishes of a couple into consideration, recent decisions indicate that things are going in that direction.
A good example is the Katrin Radmacher case that was heard in July 2009. The intention of the Prenuptial Contract signed in Germany was that the husband, who at time of divorce was studying for a university degree at Oxford University, should have 'to stand on his own two feet'. The agreement was made to protect the personal wealth of his wife, a German heiress. The parties married in 1998 and separated in 2006.
The husband then challenged the Prenuptial Agreement in the UK courts. When the court ruled at the first hearing that the agreement did not have to be taken into account as the husband had had no chance to take his own legal advice, Karin Radmacher launched a successful appeal.
The court's eventual decision to uphold the Prenuptial Agreement in the UK was based on the fact the marriage was international and the prior contract would be enforced in other countries but also because the husband had had sufficient opportunity to take legal advice and it was proper to reflect the intentions of both parties.
When the Court of Appeal ruled that the prenuptial agreement should carry legal weight, and not just be used as a guide, the previous UK legal position, which did not favour strict enforcement, was heavily criticised.
Now, following this case, a Prenuptial Contract that has been properly executed is more likely to be upheld by the UK courts - giving them even more strength in the courts than before.
The aim of a UK Prenuptial Agreement is to protect the assets of individuals who are about to get married. Although viewed by some folk as being 'unromantic', they should not be viewed as a preparation for divorce. Many people find that discussing the important issues such as those covered in a prenup prior to getting married, whilst occasionally unpleasant, can make the marital bond stronger, meaning the contract is less likely to be needed at all in the future.
While some people will always try to save money by purchasing a DIY agreement, one drawn up properly by a solicitor will be much stronger in court. These avoid the legal pitfalls that can render Prenuptial Contracts as being worth less than the paper they are written on.