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In a recent divorce case, heard in the High Court in London, the wife claimed that she was tricked into signing a pre-nuptial agreement as her husband told her it was 'just a piece of paper'.
The wife's position is that she is entitled to half of the husband's £11million fortune and the pre-nuptial agreement that would leave her with just £500,000 should be disregarded. Whilst pre-nuptial agreements can be used as a persuasive document, they are not legally binding and can be departed from by the Court.
The parties have been married a long time which is something that the Court will take into consideration when determining the financial settlement.
The Court have regard to S25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 when dealing with ancillary relief proceedings. One of the factors within the statute that the Court must consider when making any Order is, the needs of both parties. Needs relate to whether either party has a housing need, an income need or a future capital need such as a pension. In recent years, it has become clear that the Courts are moving away from equality (all assets are split equally between the parties) and they are moving toward meeting the parties needs, even if this does depart from equality.
Another pertinent factor to this case would be the lifestyle and standard of living enjoyed by the parties during the marriage. Where possible, the Court will determine a settlement that would ensure both parties had a similar lifestyle to each other after matters are finalised and the parties are divorced. £500,000.00 is unlikely to leave the wife in a situation where she will be enjoying the same standard of living as her husband given that he is worth £11million. The wife states that when the husband told her to sign the pre--nuptial agreement he said that if they ever divorced, she would carry on financially as before the divorce and nothing would change.
Our specialist team of Family Lawyers can provide advice and guidance in relation to pre-nuptial agreements as well as divorce and separation. We have 12 offices across West Yorkshire and offer free 30 minute consultations. We also offer appointments from 7:30am until 7:00pm. Call our Family Helpline free today on 08000 147720 to book an appointment.