In July 2015, in their broad reaching proposition on
'Same-sex Marriage, Divorce and Dissolution', the States
agreed, in principle, to make significant changes to divorce law in
Jersey – including that consideration should be given to
making pre-marital (pre-nuptial) agreements legally binding in the
event of divorce.
With the increased likelihood that the Jersey courts will
enforce such agreements, couples should carefully consider the
practical benefits and negative effects a 'pre-nup' may
have on a marriage.
No couple can honestly say they enter into marriage with divorce
in mind, although with 50% of all marriages now ending in divorce,
considering a pre-nuptial agreement may seem a practical and
sensible step. Signing couples can be certain in advance of what
will happen if they separate and can therefore anticipate
significantly lower legal costs in the event of divorce (although
costs will be incurred in agreeing the terms of a pre-nup).
Pre-nuptial agreements can also safeguard family businesses and
effectively protect assets within a marriage whilst also providing
for a spouse and children.
Planned safeguards would be in place, including that a pre-nup
will be effectively ignored in the case of financial hardship. This
is a very subjective test which has been disputed in the English
courts; 'financial hardship' for a spouse who is sharing a
modest income can be very different to one who is in a marriage
with assets worth many millions.
It is also true that the party with fewer assets when signing up
to a pre-nuptial agreement often obtains less on separation than
they would if they divorced through the courts. In light of this,
it has been argued that pre-nups create 'an unequal
marriage' where one party has financial dominance over the
other. It's not unfeasible to imagine a situation where a
spouse would stay in an abusive or unhappy marriage because the
pre-nuptial agreement is in place.
Ultimately, those entering into pre-nuptial agreements need to
be, as far as possible, rational and unemotional when making
decisions that may have far reaching financial consequences; a
tough call when you are also planning what is meant to be the
happiest day of your life!
Question: My husband is planning to divorce me on a very petty issue. Do you think Dubai Courts would allow a divorce on these grounds, even though it's a matter that could have been resolved between us?
Chief justice and Bar Association have endorsed legislative proposal that would clarify outdated and confused concepts such as child custody, care and control, but government inertia may hold up its enactment
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