After the Court of Appeal dismissed a woman’s bid for an equal share of the matrimonial assets, family lawyers now appear to be predicting a rise in the number of couples seeking Prenuptial Agreements.

In Hart v Hart, Lord Justice Moylan, said His Honour Judge Wildblood QC did not err in law when he awarded Karen Hart £3.5m, out of total resources of just under £9.4m.

The couple had been married for 23 years and Karen Hart’s solicitor, Irwin Mitchell partner Nicola Walker, said the settlement ‘should have been based on an equal sharing of the assets they created between them during this time’.

However, she went on to say that the ruling ‘leaves the law in a state of flux. It allows a trial judge to find that even where it is not properly evidenced, the financial contribution of one spouse outweighs the family and domestic contribution of the other. This can lead to a result that is unfair and discriminatory, as it has done in this case. More such results are likely to follow, with the potential to set the law back more than 20 years‘.

Joanna Farrands, partner at Surrey firm Barlow Robbins, very much takes the view that ‘it is unusual for so much weight to be given to pre-marriage contributions after such a long marriage.

‘For others, this means that it is more important than ever to establish and prove what assets you have invested into the relationship prior to the official marriage as they could also be included in any payout. We could potentially start to see a rise in prenuptial agreements by couples as a result,’ she said.

Simon McKirgan, senior director at family law firm Vardags, said the courts draw a clear distinction between wealth built up during the course of the partnership and that generated by one party prior to the marriage.

He went on to say that: ‘If such wealth exists, as it clearly did in the case at hand, then the party that brought this wealth to the marriage will, in most circumstances, be entitled to retain it. However, this is subject to one important caveat. If there are not enough assets to meet the financially weaker party’s needs, then the court will award them a portion of the other side’s pre-acquired wealth to ensure that those needs are met. Needs are always regarded as more important than protecting pre-acquired wealth and, in such a scenario, trump all else.’

So for now, only time will tell if couples try to pre-empt the risk by entering into more Prenuptial Agreements than they otherwise would have done.

How can we help?

If you have any inquiries  then please contact our specialised family teams at our offices. We have teams in Boston, Grantham, Lincoln, Newark, Sleaford and Spalding in which we will take time to listen to your enquiry in a friendly and empathetic nature. At Ringrose Law our motto is ‘where individuals count’. This is our core belief and we aim to make our clients feel valued from being first greeted by reception to speaking to one of our many fully qualified, experienced Solicitors. We know at Ringrose Law that satisfaction is linked to service,  so we will always provide the best service we can to you as we know that is exactly what you expect when you either make a phone call to us or walk through the door of one of our many branches

How can we help?

    Contact Details
    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Google Privacy Policy, Our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.