Robert Verkaik: This wife's victory will benefit rich husbands most of all

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It is significant that the sole dissenting voice among the panel of Supreme Court Justices who ruled so enthusiastically in favour of pre-nuptial contracts yesterday should be a woman.

For there is no doubt that the ruling has tilted the balance of power in both marriage and divorce firmly towards the rich husband.

In her opposing judgment, Lady Hale said the facts of yesterday's case obscured the fundamental fact that the object of a pre-nuptial agreement is to deny the economically weaker spouse, usually the wife, a share of the assets to which she would otherwise be entitled.

It may also be significant that the judge who first heard the Radmacher divorce was also a woman. At the first hearing in the High Court, Mrs Justice Baron set aside the Radmachers' agreement because the arrival of the couple's children had "changed the landscape".

Yesterday Lady Hale leant partial support to her fellow judge: "while I am clear that she did not give enough weight to the agreement in this case, I am equally clear that the Court of Appeal erred in equating married with unmarried parenthood. Marriage still counts for something in the law of this country and long mayit continue to do so".

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