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Prenuptial litigation for international marriages

Prenuptial agreements are relatively common, but litigation is rare outside of certain subcategories. One of these subcategories is international couples.

Despite the trend towards uniform codes, marriage and divorce law vary considerably even from one United States jurisdiction to the next. When it comes to marriages that might need to have some degree of customization in multiple sovereign countries, the need for formality tends to increase.

Why do prenuptial agreements matter?

As explained by FindLaw, prenuptial agreements typically outline important financial and property rights of the individuals entering a marriage. Many couples who draft these contracts do so to forfend their property against undue dilution stemming from what would be inevitably complex divorces.

Are foreign countries really that different?

There is a common logical error that, since the United States recognizes the validity of many foreign marriages, it also conforms to their general family law practices. The United States Embassy to Japan provides an overview of Japanese divorce law which should dispel any ideas of similarity between the domestic and foreign systems.

Some of the differences include the dispute escalation process, the authority of statements from foreign courts and the requirement for certain documents of proof. Of course, nearly every country has its own rules and regulations.

Apart from the written laws, there are also significant differences between legal systems as a whole in different countries. For example, the Japanese system places a large amount of importance on the exercise of each judge’s individual conscience. All of these details add up to a situation in which it is often beneficial to rectify prenuptial agreements with the rules of every relevant jurisdiction, sometimes through litigation.