March 22, 2010
British High Court Hears Landmark Prenup Case
England's highest court is hearing argument today in a case between a German paper industry heiress and her French ex-husband about the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement they signed in advance of their 1998 marriage.
At stake in the legal tussle between Katrin Radmacher, heiress to a paper industry fortune, and her French ex-husband Nicolas Granatino, is a settlement worth millions of pounds and the status of pre-nuptial agreements in English law.
A lower court in 2008 awarded Granatino 5.9 million pounds but Radmacher appealed, citing an agreement signed in Germany in 1998 before the couple married in London that stipulated he would get nothing if the pair divorced.
In a landmark decision, the Court of Appeal ruled last July that the pre-nuptial agreement was valid, reducing Granatino's settlement to 1 million pounds.
Before that ruling, English courts did not recognise such agreements, in which couples decide before their marriage how they would split their assets in the event of a divorce.
The hearing is scheduled to last two days, with a decision due several weeks later.
The couple's marriage began to break down in 2003 after Granatino gave up an investment banking job that Radmacher said paid him up to 330,000 pounds a year, to become a biotechnology researcher at Oxford University earning 30,000 pounds a year.
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