Pre-nuptial agreements; the ‘shockingly romantic’ truth

We’ve written before on the blog about pre-nuptial agreements. In Making fairness less elusive, we observed how since the case of Radmancher v Granatino 2008, case law in England has been moving closer towards an acceptance of the value of these arrangements. Their increasing validity is based on the strength of their perceived fairness, particularly in relation to any children of the marriage. And in Waiting a little longer for the end of uncertainty  we reviewed the publication, in February this year, of the Law Commission’s report into the use and efficacy of pre-nuptial agreements. It concluded that the majority within the legal profession were in favour of giving them legal value, although a vocal minority were concerned that in doing so we may damage the institution of marriage.

Since the publication of the Law Commission report, some law firms have reported a 50% rise in inquiries about pre-nuptial agreements. And in a somewhat artful example of life imitating law, the divorce lawyer who represented Katrin Radmancher has now written a much publicised pre-nuptial agreement with her husband to be. Ayesha Vardag, known as the Diva of Divorce, is set to marry (for the second time) this year. Her fiancé Stephen Bence is Director of Strategy at her law firm. One imagines that she, of all people, has ensured that their agreement would pass the ‘fairness’ test and thus be enforceable.

Here at Prince Family Law we find ourselves, in philosophical moments, wondering about the perceived clash between the seemingly hard-headed nature of pre-nuptial agreements and the overtly sentimental approach to her wedding that Vardag has. The couple have a website that reveals the secrets of every aspect of their wedding, from dress, to rings, to hair and make-up stylists, and even gives guests the opportunity to buy bits of the couple’s honeymoon. The Divorce Diva seems very willing to share every aspect of their wedding, and very much bares the soul of their relationship via the website. She says,“Being a divorce lawyer doesn’t stop me from being shockingly romantic. I think when you’ve been divorced yourself, and seen your clients suffer in cruel or cold relationships, it makes you appreciate it all the more when you find someone that makes you stronger and happier.”

It is clear that the pre-nuptial agreement the couple have signed has done nothing to diminish their fervour for each other. It is probably true to say that if this couple, who spend so much time focused on the troubled relationships of others, can see fit to be clear-headed in the midst of their ardour, then perhaps, with the right advice, the rest of us can follow suit.