Navigating British Prenups (England & Wales and expatriates): Lessons from Legal Analysis and Wenup's Approach

Published January 10, 2024

A comprehensive analysis of the post-2010 published judgements coming out of the High Court and the Court of Appeal involving nuptial agreements (pre and post nuptial: "PNAs") have been released in England and Wales.


Wenup's co-founder and Lead Barrister, Maria Scotland, sheds light on the nuances and challenges surrounding these marital agreements.

Out of the 29 cases reviewed only 9 saw the court uphold the terms of the PNA emphasising the need for a meticulous approach in creating such agreements[1].

One key trend highlighted in the analysis is the importance of addressing evolving circumstances. Many of the PNAs which were not upheld in full failed to stand the test of time, where no updating or variation of the original PNA had been created. Wenup addresses this by incorporating a review and update mechanism into each of their PNAs, adopting a forward-thinking subscription model to prevent the diminishing value of their agreements over time.

Another crucial factor contributing to the success or failure of PNAs is the definition of "needs." Maria Scotland's analysis of nuptial agreement judgments underlines the significance of specifying needs according to the couples' particular circumstances (including their respective age, health, capital resources, income, mortgage raising capacity and regional disparities in housing costs). Wenup's approach is to steer clear of including in their PNA an arbitrary lump sum to be paid by one party to the other at the end of the relationship, which has proven fatal in some of the analysed cases, and instead focus on the dynamic nature of the parties' individual needs; ensuring that the agreements remain reliable at the end of the relationship. Scotland's legal research and analysis revealed that the payments of fixed lump sums by the wealthier party to the other, rather than fixing a percentage of assets or asset-sharing arrangements, can lead to the court departing from the PNA as the parties' circumstances change over time since the PNA creation.

Wenup's commitment to crafting high-quality PNAs involves avoiding the pitfalls of a one-size-fits-all approach, recognising the importance of tailoring agreements to the unique circumstances of each couple.

Crucially, Wenup distinguishes itself by refraining from incorporating speculative elements into PNAs. Future plans such as children, additional properties, or business ventures are deliberately excluded, recognising the uncertainties surrounding these factors and their potential impact on the fairness of the agreement. Instead, couples are encouraged to vary their agreements once the life events have taken place to provide certainty. Due to WeNup's fixed (low) price structure and streamlined collaborative process revisiting the PNA is neither onerous nor costly.

In essence, Wenup's approach to agreements is grounded in adaptability, specificity, and a commitment to meeting the genuine needs of both parties involved. By learning from historical legal outcomes and incorporating these lessons into their platform, Wenup aims to provide couples with robust, future-proof agreements that stand up to scrutiny and evolve with the changing dynamics of married life.


About the company: [1] (1) Radmacher v Granatino [2010] UKSC 42 (2) Z v Z (No 2) (Financial Remedies: Marriage Contract) [2011] EWHC 2878 (Fam) (3) V v V (Pre-nuptial agreement) [2011] EWHC 3230 (4) L v M [2014] EWHC 2220 (Fam) (5) WW v HW (PNA: Needs: Conduct) [2015] EWHC 1844 (Fam) (6) DB v PB ((PNA: Jurisdiction) [2016] EWHC 3431 (Fam) (7) CMX v EJX (French Marriage Contract) [2022] (8) M v A (also MN v AN) (Prenuptial agreement) [2023] All ER (D) 14 (Apr) (9) MV v MW [2023] EWFC 79

Contact Info:
Name: Hannah Smith
Email: Send Email
Organization: Wenup

Release ID: 89118329

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