Recognition of Foreign Pre-Marriage Contracts


It is not uncommon for couples living abroad to enter into a pre-marriage (or pre-nuptial) contract which seeks to regulate the division of assets on divorce. Although these agreements may be enforceable in the country in which they were entered into, they are not necessarily legally enforceable in England & Wales too.

Knowledge of the international rules applying to pre (and post) marriage contracts is a key aspect of our international family law work. We have close contacts with expert family lawyers across the globe who can assist when required. Our team of experienced family lawyers can advise you on the likelihood of any foreign pre-marriage contract being upheld. They will guide you through the relevant law and provide a range of realistic outcomes.

Overview →

It would be wrong to assume that a pre-marriage contract validly entered into in one country shares the same legal status in England & Wales. The starting point is that agreements of this type are not legally enforceable in England & Wales and they are subject to the scrutiny of the Court should one party subsequently issue Court proceedings.

Much in the same way as a pre or post nuptial agreement prepared in England & Wales is concerned, a number of criteria or factors will need to be satisfied before a Court will declare whether the foreign pre marriage contract should be binding on the parties. An overview of these factors can be found on our Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements page.

Provided these criteria have been met, then it is likely that the English court will implement, or at least be highly influenced by, the existence of a foreign pre (or post) marriage contract. However, this is not definitive as the Court retains a discretion to make an order on other terms. It is, therefore, imperative that, if you and your spouse plan on moving to England for a period of time, or if divorce proceedings could be issued in England & Wales, you speak to one of our experienced lawyers.

One option is to consider entering into a mirror agreement (on the same terms as your existing pre marriage contract) under English law.  We can discuss whether this would be a sensible step for you to take.

Our Expertise →

At FLiP, our expertise in negotiating and delivering pre and post nuptial agreements and relationship agreements is second to none. Our extensive knowledge and experience in this area extends to dealing with foreign pre-marriage contracts and this represents a key feature of our international family law work. We work closely with other family law specialists around the world to provide a truly international and bespoke service.

Our People

We have some of the very best London divorce lawyers and mediators, along with accomplished arbitrators, family consultants and counsellors. There’s no one better to handle your case.

Team of Family Lawyers Talking

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