In today’s highly globalised world, it is not uncommon for individuals of different nationalities to get married in one country, make pre-nuptial agreements, then move to another country to settle down. However when divorce suddenly comes into the picture in a foreign country, will the court still consider these pre-nuptial agreements?
Singapore traditionally does not have the practice of enforcing pre-nuptial agreements. However, pre-nuptial agreements are not generally void on the basis of being contrary to public policy and the Singapore Court of Appeal holds that it will normally enforce foreign pre-nuptial agreements, taking them into account very seriously in International divorce cases.
An important point to note is that the validity of a contract (this including pre-nuptial agreements) is determined by a system of law called the “proper law of the contract” which is dependent on whether the parties to the agreement have expressly chosen a governing law. Pre-nuptial agreements that are definitively governed by foreign law and entered into by foreign nationals are generally conferred special significance by courts.
However, should the pre-nuptial agreement/terms be in conflict with legislative policy embodied within the Women’s Charter, the court may decline to uphold the agreement. It can be seen that any pre-nuptial agreement must still withstand the court’s scrutiny and it would be most advisable to consult an experienced international divorce lawyer on the details of your particular case.