Friday, January 11, 2008

Prenuptial Agreements - Some Indiana Thoughts on an English Case

Comparing how Indiana deals with prenups and property issues.

The English blog Family Law Week published Pre-nups can "short circuit" ancillary relief proceedings which lead me to the London Times' reporting on the case, Divorcee worth £18m fights for a slice of fourth husband’s fortune.

Reading The Times, I read a few things that I thought this could serve to make some points about Indiana. First, the lack of a British statute on prenups surprised me. Indiana has one.

Second, I think we get our cases tried a bit quicker (but maybe not by much) here.

His team argued that the facts could be heard in one day rather than enduring the usual proceedings, which might entail three hearings, a delay of up to 18 months and significant costs.
Not that we do not have cases going this long, but three hearings on property issues? Then, too, the cases I know that lasted over year usually had some sort of reconciliation during that time.

Last, the English decided to use something that sounds like our Motion for Summary Judgment:
The High Court judge Mr Justice Bennett agreed that the case could be heard in one day in February, when the prenuptial agreement would be evaluated and a decision made there and then over whether to throw out Mrs Crossley’s arguments..

Yesterday, Mrs Crossley’s legal team argued that in agreeing such a procedure Mr Justice Bennett was denying her access to the courts. She would have no chance to present evidence about undisclosed assets that she claimed rendered the agreement invalid.

Considering how Indiana court interpret prenuptial agreements (see my post Interpreting Prenuptial Agreements), prenuptial agreements lend themselves to summary judgment motions. Summary judgment requires no dispute of material fact which allows for a judgment on purely legal grounds. I noticed this procedure used in Ervin Mark Ball v. Kelli T. Ball (Pdf format).

For more of my articles on prenups, click on the link below that reads "prenuptial agreements."

I am available for writing or reviewing an Indiana prenuptial agreement, just give me a call at 765-641-7906.

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