Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New year - Brand new divorce

It is reported from America that, following his split from Katy Perry, actor and comedian Russell Brand stands to gain $20 million in the divorce settlement.  The reason, apparently, is that the couple did not sign a pre-nuptial agreement. 
Brand and Perry married in California.  Under the law of that state, each is entitled to an equal share of the wealth, unless there is an agreement in place.  This highlights, once again, the subject of the pre-nup and its use or validity.
In England and Wales, it remains the case that pre-nuptial agreements, governing what should happen to a married couples assets should they divorce, are not binding.  Recent high profile cases have highlighted that they are a persuasive factor, but not necessarily the final answer.  A court will still have the final say in determining whether, in fact, the settlement that the pre-nup creates ins fair in all the circumstances.
This does not mean to say that pre-nups are worthless.  However, anyone wishing to go ahead with such an agreement must take advice from a family law solicitor, as must their intended life-partner, well before the day of the marriage.  Even then, it will be necessary to keep the agreements under review during the marriage to ensure that their consequences are seen as fair.
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