The Court has recently considered [in BN V MA ] the effect of a prenuptial agreement on a Wife’s applications for maintenance pending suit (maintenance which is paid whilst the financial issues as a whole are resolved), interim payments for the children (child maintenance) and legal services provision (which is an application that requires the other party within the proceedings to pay to the applicant an amount to enable that party to obtain legal advice).
The Court found that:
“…when adjudicating the question of interim maintenance, where there has been a prenuptial agreement, the court should seek to apply the terms of the prenuptial agreement as closely and practically as it can, unless the evidence of the wife in support of her application demonstrates, to a convincing standard, that she has a prospect of satisfying a court that the agreement should not be upheld.”
In this case, the Court decided that the Wife’s maintenance and child maintenance (although considered as part of the Wife’s maintenance) should be paid in accordance with the prenuptial agreement. The Husband was however given credit for an increase in the value of property upon which he was paying the large mortgage and also half the service costs and bills of this property given that the property was held jointly and therefore the Wife should meet half of these costs.
In relation to the legal services provision, the Wife had failed to satisfy the Court that she was unable to secure a litigation loan. It is a requirement of an application for legal services provision that the applicant has first made enquiries with lenders to try secure a litigation loan which could meet their legal costs and can demonstrate to the Court that no litigation loans are available.
The Court made a costs order against the Wife which required her to pay 75% of the Husband’s legal costs in relation to her applications as the she did not have a defence in relation to her failed application for legal services provision (given that she had been offered litigation loans although at high interest rates) and the Husband was successful in that the prenuptial agreement was upheld and the Wife was not awarded more maintenance than the agreement provided for.
Maguire Family Law is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties considering prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, parties going through a separation (following cohabitation) or divorce or dissolution from a civil partnership including the financial issues which flow from this and any children matters including child maintenance.
We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.
We also advise in relation to legal service provision applications if parties are struggling to meet their legal costs.
We advise clients in the Wilmslow area and also to the surrounding areas of Alderley Edge, Bramhall, Hale, Altrincham, Manchester and the North West. We are also able to act for clients nationally and internationally subject to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. For advice please contact James Maguire by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by email james.maguire@family-law.