This week has seen a resurgence of media interest in pre-nuptial agreements. It has been reported that Oprah Winfrey is to marry her partner of 25 years, Stedman Graham. She is allegedly offering a pre-nuptial agreement which includes a $100,000,000 financial settlement in the event of divorce.
Elsewhere in the US, it is reported that the Nebraska Supreme Court has rendered unenforceable a pre-nuptial agreement thrust upon the bride five days before the wedding with the threat "sign this, or the wedding is off!" No disclosure of the groom's $2,000,000 fortune had been disclosed, as required by state law.
Unlike certain US states, the terms of pre-nuptial agreements which are considered as part of an English divorce settlement are not automatically upheld. The general principle in this country is that the courts will only give effect to a nuptial settlement provided that it is freely entered into by each person with a full appreciation of the implications, unless the outcome would be unfair - something with which the Nebraska Supreme Court appears to agree.
Provided certain safeguards can be met, an English pre-nuptial agreement will be compelling and carry decisive weight.
For more advice on pre-nuptial agreements or divorce settlements in England, follow our family law blog or follow us on Twitter @Divorce-experts.