The parties had entered into a pre-nuptial agreement. On the ancillary relief proceedings on divorce, the husband sought to have the agreement taken into account by the court. It decided that the wife should give reasons why she considered that the agreement was made without proper disclosure and why the pre-nuptial agreement should not be relied upon, and that otherwise neither party should have to produce the standard replies to questionnaires required by the rules. Both parties had very substantial assets. Bennett J had refused to allow a wife’s claim to go to trial in the face of the clear provisions of the pre-nuptial agreement.
Held: The wife’s appeal failed. The Rules were not intended to work as a straitjacket precluding sensible case management.
Thorpe LJ pointed to the fact that the marriage was a childless marriage of very short duration, for a substantial portion of which the parties were living apart; the marriage was between mature adults, both of whom had been previously married and divorced; both parties had very substantial independent wealth; the ante-nuptial agreement provided for the retention by each of the parties of their separate properties and division of joint property (of which there was in fact none). He accepted that the combination of these factors gave rise to a very strong case that a possible result of the section 25 exercise would be that the wife receives no further financial award, and concluded: ‘All these cases are fact dependent and this is a quite exceptional case on its facts, but if ever there is to be a paradigm case in which the court will look to the prenuptial agreement as not simply one of the peripheral factors in the case but as a factor of magnetic importance, it seems to me that this is just such a case.’
Thorpe LJ, Keene LJ, Wall LJ
Times 03-Jan-2008,  EWCA Civ 1491,  Fam Law 395,  1 FLR 1467,  1 FCR 323
Matrimonial Cause Act 1973 25
England and Wales
Cited – Parris v Williams CA 23-Oct-2008
The parties had been business partners, but the business failed, and Mr Williams was made bankrupt. Mr Parris was offered a chance to purchase two apartments, and did so in his own name. Mr Williams asserted an interest, saying that it had been a . .
Cited – Radmacher v Granatino CA 2-Jul-2009
Husband and wife, neither English, had married in England. Beforehand they had signed a prenuptial agreement in Germany agreeing that neither should claim against the other on divorce. The wife appealed against an order to pay a lump sum to the . .
Cited – Radmacher (Formerly Granatino) v Granatino SC 20-Oct-2010
The parties, from Germany and France married and lived at first in England. They had signed a pre-nuptial agreement in Germany which would have been valid in either country of origin. H now appealed against a judgment which bound him to it, . .
Cited – Wyatt v Vince SC 11-Mar-2015
Long delayed ancillary relief application proceeds
The parties had divorced some 22 years before, but no ancillary relief order had been made to satisfy the application outlined in the petition. The parties when together had lived in relative poverty, but H had subsequently become wealthy. W applied . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 February 2021; Ref: scu.263546