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Prenuptial Agreement Set Aside as Unfair Luckwell v Limata [2014] EWHC 502 (Fam)


In a 2014 case, a pre-nuptial agreement was not upheld in circumstances where, had it been, the husband would have been prevented from buying a home or paying off his debts.  On the other hand, his wife would have continued to live in luxury with the children.  The judge said: "If all the facts were the same but the genders reversed, it is inconceivable that the pre-nuptial agreements would outweigh making a substantial award to the wife, even if the children were primarily living with the husband and only intermittently staying with her."

The couple married in July 2005 and had three children. They split up in 2012 following rows over money. The husband had no assets at all. His net debts, including all he owed in costs, amounted to about £226,000. The wife was property rich and owned the £6.7m house she lived in. In July 2005 the couple had signed a pre-marital agreement, and then two supplementary agreements.

The wife said she was "distressed" by the ruling. She said her husband had contributed nothing to the marriage in terms of capital and had made repeated promises not to claim against her family's assets.

The husband’s solicitor said that he was given sufficient funds to meet his real financial needs, including a home in which to live, having made financial contributions himself during the marriage from employment and his own inheritance and "Marriage brings with it important legal and moral obligations to care for the other spouse in a time of need, including if a marriage breaks down.  Whilst those obligations can be properly regulated and defined by a pre-nuptial agreement, it cannot be right for it to remove entirely the obligation to provide for real need."

Luckwell v Limata [2014] EWHC 502 (Fam)

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Sunday, 23 January 2022

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