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23 DEC 2008

Five senior judges back 'post-nuptial' agreements

The Privy Council has upheld a post-nuptial agreement between an American couple who entered into a pre-nuptial agreement on the day of their marriage but after 8 years entered a further post-nuptial agreement that made some substantial variations to the pre-nuptial agreement.

Lady Hale was sitting with Lord Scott, Lord Walker, Sir Henry Brooke and Sir Jonathan Parker in an appeal from the Isle of Man brought by a wealthy businessman, Roderick MacLeod, 64, against a ruling in favour of his estranged wife, Marcia, 42.

The Privy Council found for the husband and upheld the post-nuptial agreement.

Pauline Fowler, a partner at Hughes Fowler Carruthers who represented Mr MacLeod, said: "It gives the green light to post-nuptial agreements that are kept current and to pre-nuptial agreements that are then varied to take account of the parties' up-to-date circumstances".

The decision may strengthen the negotiating position of parties, who knew that the marriage would not have taken place if a pre-nuptial was not signed, when they enter a post-nuptial agreement once they are married.

To read the Newswatch case summary click here.

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