One example that has already been discussed in this Note is the prenuptial contract. (168) Despite the civil court system's early suspicion towards, and invalidation of, prenuptial contracts, once appropriate protections were put in place that guaranteed informed choice in the process, courts began to view these as valid and enforceable contracts.
2001) (husband argued, and court agreed, that $30 mahr agreement was a prenuptial contract between husband and wife married for over seventeen years; court, however, held the prenuptial was not enforceable on grounds of vagueness).
(9) This confusion is due in large part to a misunderstanding of the context and function of the mahr, leading courts to either invalidate these provisions blanketly or otherwise improperly treat mahr agreements as prenuptial contracts. (10) Another common issue presents itself when parties seek enforcement of a mahr agreement that was part of a divorce obtained outside of the United States, specifically when the divorce was achieved through the unilateral method of talaq.
(79) This confusion is due in large part to a misunderstanding of the context and function of the mahr, leading courts to improperly treat mahr agreements as prenuptial contracts, barring equal distribution of property in divorces initiated in the United States.
Enforcement of Mahr Agreements as Prenuptial Contracts
The majority of American courts that have addressed the issue have interpreted mahr agreements as prenuptial contracts, valid so long as they conform to requirements of contract law and the state's statutory standards for prenuptials.
More substantively, in the United States, prenuptial contracts are defined as agreements entered into by two "individuals who intend to marry which affirms, modifies, or waives a marital right or obligation," (88) Historically, prenuptial contracts were considered unenforceable by American courts.
The court recently held that appeal judges were right to cut Nicolas Granatino's settlement from more than pounds 5.6 million to pounds 1 million in his divorce from German heiress Katrin Radmacher, representing a major step towards prenuptial contracts
becoming legally enforceable.