Anorak News | Katrin Radmacher Prenuptial Runs Roughshod Over UK Law And God

Katrin Radmacher Prenuptial Runs Roughshod Over UK Law And God

by | 20th, October 2010

KATRIN Radmacher, 40, is the German paper company heiress who has established in the Supreme Court that prenuptial agreements are binding. The deal leaves her former husband, Frenchman Nicolas Granatino, 38, with 1 million of her estimated £106 million fortune. The Court of Appeal had slashed his divorce settlement of £5.85m .

Pre-nups do not currently have a place in British family law.

And Granatino seems to have done pretty well – the original 1998 agreement stipulated that neither party would benefit financially if the marriage ended.

Says Radmacher:

“I am really pleased with the ruling but saddened at the four-year process that brought us to this point. I am delighted that Britain has upheld fairness. It is important to me that no one else should have to go through this.”


“For Nicolas and I, in our homelands – France and Germany – these agreements are entirely normal and routine. We made a promise to each other that if anything went wrong between us, both of us would walk away without making financial claims on each other. The promise made to me was broken.

“I know some people think of prenuptial agreements as being unromantic, but for us it was meant to be a way of proving you are marrying only for love. It was a natural part of the marriage process. In my case, my father insisted upon it to protect my inheritance.”

What does it mean?

What does Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev Nicholas Reade say?

Such settlements, no doubt much loved by legal and financial professionals who profit from them, are in danger of reducing marriage to the economic bargaining of historic marriage contracts and of cheapening sacred commitments into balance sheets.”

What say the winners?

Stephen Foster, head of the divorce department at Stewarts Law:

“The Supreme Court has created a rich man’s (or in the case of Mrs Radmacher, rich woman’s) charter to drive a hard bargain prior to marriage.

“The trickle of pre-nuptial agreements will now become a torrent.”

Michael Gouriet, a partner in the family law team at Withers LLP:

“People often ask whether valid pre-nups are worth the paper they are written on, as there is a common misconception that they are not binding in this country. This decision confirms that they most definitely are.

“It would have been incredibly difficult and politically embarrassing for the English Supreme Court to dismiss a valid European pre-nuptial agreement out of hand, in effect saying that the English law knew better than the German.”

Brenda Long, of the law firm Blandy & Bland:

This supreme court ruling means the judiciary has overstepped its prescribed role of interpreting law and actually created law instead. This is particularly surprising given that one of the judges, Baroness Hale, has previously expressed the view that development in this area should be dealt with by legislative reform rather than judicial development and gave a dissenting opinion in today’s judgment.

“This decision could introduce an inherent degree of sex discrimination within the family court system as prenuptial agreements predominantly benefit the rich and it is more commonly the woman in the marriage who is the financially weaker party.”

A statement from Radmacher’s lawyer Bruce:

This decision means pre-nups are binding as long as they’re fair. Everybody hopes their marriage will last a lifetime. From today we’re allowed to prepare for the possibility that it might not be the case. Pre-nups are like a form of fire insurance – better taken out before the event rather than after it.

“This judgment is pro-marriage. Good pre-nups will keep couples together if they marry for love, not money. It holds for co-habiting couples, too.
“This judgment supports the public’s desire to minimise conflict, and the emotional and financial cost of divorce.”

Schillings associate David Greer:

“In a revolutionary judgment the Supreme Court has swept away the previous obstacles to the enforceability of pre-nups while retaining safeguards to prevent injustice. In years to come this is likely to lead to an explosion of litigation as spouses try to avoid pre-nups being enforced. The enhanced status of pre-nups will enable couples to protect their privacy by avoiding acrimonious litigation and the media attention which often comes with it.”

Posted: 20th, October 2010 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink