No pre-nup for William and Kate

by Peter Magee on July 5, 2011

Peter MageeThe UK Telegraph published an article “Royal Wedding: Loving Prince William rejects Prenuptial Agreement” on 1 May 2011. The article says that a St James Palace spokesman confirmed “there is no prenuptial agreement in place for this wedding”. Although Prince William was advised in enter into a pre nuptial agreement he “loves Kate and trusts her implicitly and was adamant that no agreement was necessary”.

On the one hand the decision seems wildly romantic, on the other hand it is surprising that Prince William would not want to “safeguard his wealth” or that Kate would not want to “ensure she was kept in regal style if they split”

This decision is especially surprising, given the failure rate of previous royal marriages and significantly sized property settlements following the fall out.  For example when Charles and Princess Diana divorced in 1996, after 15 years of marriage, she received £17 million at the time (£27 million today), according to the Village Voice in their article “Should William and Kate sign a Prenup”?

The UK Telegraph says that Prenuptial Agreements were never part of British law until October 2010, when Judges used a test case involving German Heiress Katrin Radmacher to rewrite Britain’s marriage laws.

Personally, the romantic in me finds something heart warming about Kate and William not entering into a prenuptial agreement.  However as a family lawyer, I see that in a relationship where one party has such significant assets, from a practical point of view a prenuptial agreement may have been sensible.

A prenuptial agreement could be used to limit the access Kate would have to William’s financial assets if the marriage were to disintegrate.  Similarly a prenuptial agreement could provide for payment to be made to Kate to ensure that her lifestyle was somewhat protected.  A prenuptial agreement would provide some certainty as to how the assets are to be divided if the marriage does not work.

Prince William may not think a prenuptial agreement is necessary because he trusts Kate and believes that even if their marriage did disintegrate they are rational enough to divide the assets fairly.   The difficulty is that unfortunately initial trust that a relationship is built on can disintegrate as the relationship deteriorates. Also even though both parties may be rational they can still have different perspectives as to what is fair and how assets should be divided.

Ultimately though, it is a personal decision to be made with you and your partner as to if a prenuptial agreement should be entered into.

If you would like more information regarding prenuptial agreement please contact Armstrong Legal on 9261 4555.

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