The Court has this month upheld a French prenuptial agreement in the case of Z and Z. The parties were French. The wife was aged 50, the husband 53. They were married for 14 years with 4 years cohabitation outside the marriage. There were 3 children from the marriage aged 9, 12 and 14. They were married in July 1994 and lived in France before moving to England in 2007. They had entered into a prenuptial agreement the month prior to their marriage. In February 2008 they began a trial separation. Prior to leaving the husband signed a letter to the wife saying that he would pay her one half of all his net earnings past and future without time limit as well as maintenance up to €200,000 per annum.
The Court was concerned with whether the prenuptial agreement which provided for the wife to receive 40% of the assets should be upheld or whether the principle of sharing which was appropriate in this case should apply.
The Court found that the prenuptial agreement had been entered into freely and with full understanding of its implications. No formal financial disclosure took place but the Court found the parties had full knowledge of each other’s financial positions.
The Court found that the prenuptial agreement should stand unaltered and the terms contained within the offer letter sent by the husband should not apply as this had been written with no legal advice and the husband had been under significant pressure.