Family Law

Family Law News Issue 4, 2014, Volume 36, No. 4

International Prenuptial Agreements: Necessary But Dangerous

Jeremy D. Morley

Jeremy D. Morley is a New York lawyer who concentrates on international family law. His firm works with lawyers and clients throughout the United States and around the world. Jeremy is the author of "International Family Law Practice" and "The Hague Abduction Convention: Practical Issues and Procedures for Family Lawyers." He may be reached at

Lawyers representing international clients who plan to marry and who want the protection of a prenuptial agreement should always consider the international ramifications of any proposed agreement. While conventional domestic prenuptial agreements raise grave malpractice concerns for family lawyers, the concerns become a hazardous minefield when the issues are multi-jurisdictional.

In many ways the world is rapidly shrinking and globalizing. "The World is Flat" is not only the catchy title of a bestselling book, but it also highlights the fact that international borders matter far less to most aspects of life than was the case a couple of decades ago. In sharp contrast, however, divorce laws remain local and parochial. Not only do divorce requirements and procedures vary from country to country, but so do the substantive laws concerning the division of assets and spousal and child support. Moreover, the laws about prenuptial agreements and marriage contracts vary considerably around the world and—just as important—the attitudes of courts to such contracts diverge considerably, significantly, and in many different ways from country to country. Outside of the European Union there is generally no international law that governs the application of local law to international personal relationships.

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