Ex-wife awarded £90million fighting for more

An ex-wife awarded a £90 million settlement in 2014 upon divorcing her property tycoon husband is seeking to argue that she should receive another £25 million – despite having signed a pre-nuptial agreement.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5363469/Wife-signed-pre-nup-says-90m-payout-unfair.htm

A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract that seeks to regulate the financial arrangements between two parties to an intended marriage/civil partnership in the event that their relationship ends; but these agreements are not currently legally binding in England and Wales.  https://lawblacks.wordpress.com/2014/02/27/prenups-to-be-made-binding/

The court will consider various factors when determining how much weight should be given to a pre-nuptial agreement which involves a consideration of the circumstances at the time the agreement was made. For example, was there any undue pressure and were both parties fully informed of its implications? Did both parties receive legal advice?  Would enforcement of the terms of the pre-nuptial agreement meet the needs of the parties and in particular any children of the family?

Whilst the court can regard pre-nuptial agreements as persuasive and even decisive in divorce settlements, they can depart from them if the prevailing circumstances mean it would be unjust to hold the parties to their agreement. This is precisely what Camilla Versteegh has sought to argue in appealing the court’s award of £90 million, claiming that this sum is “unfair” and that after 21 years of marriage and an extremely high standard of living she should be entitled to another £25 million from her ex-husband Gerard Versteegh – a property tycoon said to be worth £273 million https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/90m-divorce-award-isn-t-enough-says-former-wife-camilla-versteegh-5h902rlb2.

Lawyers for Mrs Versteegh have told the court that the pre-nuptial agreement was signed without any legal advice, or even the opportunity for it, as the pre-nuptial agreement was presented to her the day before the wedding when Mr Versteegh turned up at her house. Lawyers for Mr Versteegh have argued that he has already been very generous to his ex-wife given that she signed away all her rights to his money before they wed, but with the Judge awarding Mrs Versteegh less than he otherwise may have done due to the existence of the agreement, her lawyers say it is only fair that she is due more.

The hearing before Lord Justice Lewison, Lord Justice Holroyd and Lady Justice King continues.

Paul Lancaster

Paul Lancaster
Family Law Team
0113 227 9215

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