It seems the UK is closer than ever before to making prenuptial agreements legal.
There have been two different stories in the press this first week of February 2014:
Firstly, that the Matrimonial Property, Needs and Agreements paper is due be presented to the Justice Secretary prior to before Parliament.
The news comes as Family Law Week reports that this week the UK Courts enforced a prenuptial agreement that was being challenged by a wife seeking to overrule the agreement, however the Court decided after a careful review of the agreement, that it should be upheld, moving away from the more traditional stance of English courts in putting prenuptial agreements to one side.
However, it is unlikely this will become officially law until after the General Election which is due to take place next year.
In a Thailand prenuptial agreement, individuals can specify the properties involved and separate them into two categories joint property and individual property. Couples can also specify how finances will be managed during the marriage.
A common misunderstanding is that a father’s name on a birth certificate is sufficient to establish paternal rights in Thailand, but this is incorrect. In Thailand, although a man may be the biological father of the child in question and established a relationship with his child, but without having met the necessary legal requirements, may lack the legal rights to his child.
Foreign parents in Thailand will usually seek to establish the citizenship of their Thai born children through their embassy in Thailand. Although establishing paternity (or maternity) is normally a fundamental issue with regard to citizenship, establishing paternity under Thai law is not necessarily needed to gain legal paternity under foreign law.
Recognition of foreign marriages can assist you with knowing whether you are married in accordance with the local law should you move to a different jurisdiction, which is relevant to issues such as the legitimacy of children and the availability of divorce claims – if your marriage is not recognized locally there is no opportunity for a divorce or divorce claims
Generally in developed countries a marriage or divorce will be recognized by other similar countries.
This is known as the law of comity which is where the courts of one country respect and enforce another country’s laws and judicial decisions.
Enforcement of a court order for example an order regarding joint assets or child custody then that might not be so straightforward, and is a different issue outside the ambit of this post.
Generally therefore marriages and divorces registered in England will be legal in Thailand and vice versa. However one word of caution – it should be noted that an administrative divorce carried out at the Thai Embassy or Consulate in the UK will not be a valid divorce as far as the UK law is concerned, although that divorce would be recognized in Thailand. This is because in the UK, only a court can grant a divorce.
Despite the fact they won’t become legal until late 2013/early 2014, the use of prenuptial agreements in the UK is increasing. Many couples were of the view that there was little point in entering into a prenuptial agreement as they would not be enforceable but in fact since a landmark case that was decided in 2012 upheld a prenuptial agreement, they are becoming more and more popular.
Because they are yet to be legally binding, English courts still retain a discretion whether to uphold an agreement or not. They will look carefully at when the agreement was drafted and in what circumstances. Therefore a prenup entered into in a short marriage where there has been no children is more likely to be upheld than when there has been a long marriage and personal circumstances are very different to when the terms of the prenup were decided.
Under Thailand prenuptial law, you may be able to specify the properties involved and separate them into two categories joint property and individual property. You can also specify how finances will be managed during the marriage. However, restrictions on child support are generally not allowed. If you are arranging an international marriage, then consideration should be given to hiring a Thailand attorney with international experience who will be skilled in drafting international prenuptial agreements.