Court Upholds Marital Agreements

Marital agreements can take two forms: agreements entered into prior to the marriage, often referred to as ‘prenuptial’ agreements, and agreements entered into after the marriage, known as ‘post-marital’ agreements.

Such agreements are often entered into in circumstances where one of the parties has substantially more non-marital assets than the other, usually assets that they acquired prior to the marriage.

And that was the situation in a recent case in the family court in London.

The case concerned a couple who were married in 2015.

Prior to the marriage the couple entered into a prenuptial agreement. At the time of the agreement the couple provided each other with financial disclosure.

The information provided by the Wife was that her net assets were valued in the region of £50 million, and that she was likely to inherit at least several hundred millions of pounds. The information provided by the Husband was that his net assets were valued at about £225,000.

The agreement provided, amongst other things, that in the event of the marriage breaking down the husband would make no claim against the wife’s assets, save that the wife would provide for the husband’s housing needs while the parties’ son was in education, so that he had somewhere suitable to live when staying with his father.

The agreement was confirmed after the marriage, when the parties entered into a post-marital agreement, in similar terms.

The marriage broke down in 2021 and divorce proceedings ensued, in which the wife made a financial remedies application.

When the application was heard by the court the wife had assets of £250 million, and the husband’s assets were found to be £2 million.

The wife essentially sought an order that the parties be held to the terms of the agreements.

The husband, on the other hand, sought further financial provision from the wife, including a half share of one of the wife’s properties, equating to some £42.5 million.

But the judge did not agree that the husband should have more. He found that the agreements must carry full weight – the parties could have done no more to make clear their intentions as to what should happen in the event of separation in terms of their assets.

Accordingly, the husband’s claim for a share of the wife’s assets failed.

The full judgment in the case can be found here.

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