Royal prenup in the air?

  @ibtimes on November 17 2010 4:16 PM
Royal Wedding
‘Unexpected’ guests named at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton Reuters

Britain's Prince William and his long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton ended speculations about their future by announcing their engagement on Tuesday but triggered a new speculation over whether the couple will opt for a prenuptial agreement.

To date, no member of the British royal family has signed a prenuptial agreement but William and Kate could set a royal precedence.

According to divorce and family law experts, a prenuptial agreement would make William and Kate be seen as a modern couple and would help avoid a lot of unnecessary headache and heartache later.

A prenuptial is a jolly good idea, a senior partner of a London-based law firm that advises on family matters said, citing the breakdown of some royal marriages in Britain.

Agrees divorce expert Isabel Thornton. In a case where a substantial disparity of wealth exists, one set of parents would undoubtedly be marching their offspring to see the lawyers as soon as possible, Thornton said.

However, Thornton doubts whether the Royals will agree to a prenuptial.

With the risk of setting a precedent in mind, I am sure careful consideration will be paid to the issue before any final decision is made, particularly given the Anglican belief in the sanctity of marriage, Thornton told the Daily Mail.

Patrick Jephson, private secretary to former Princess Diana, the prince's deceased mother, suggested that a prenuptial pact should be part of the advance planning. There will be a tidal wave of sentimental slush, but I believe what I'm saying. You've got be practical. If she was my sister, I'd tell her to get a good prenup, Jephson wrote to the Daily Mail.

Kate is the daughter of millionaire entrepreneurs Carole and Michael Middleton. William is second in line to the throne of England and the wealth of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth II (the reigning Queen) is estimated at $450 million.

Last month, the U.K. Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling, swept away hundreds of years of legal precedent that a married couple should be together for life and their property should be shared, by saying that prenuptial agreements are enforceable under British divorce law.

The court had ruled against Nicolas Granatino, a former investment banker who had challenged a prenuptial agreement he signed with German heiress Katrin Radmacher.

Court President Lord Phillips said that the law cannot prevent a couple deciding how to arrange their affairs should they come to live apart. The court said that all English courts should follow its precedence and after its ruling it will be natural to infer that parties entering into agreements will intend that effect be given to them.

However, Lord Phillips also said that prenuptials will not be legally binding in all circumstances and the courts would still have the discretion to waive any pre- or postnuptial agreement, especially when it was unfair to any children of the marriage.

UK is known as the divorce capital of Europe.

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