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Woman ordered to pay ex-husband’s debts despite signing pre-nuptial agreement

A woman has been ordered to pay her former husband’s debts despite signing a pre-nuptial agreement, reports have revealed.

According to reports, the unnamed woman filed for divorce in September 2016 after six-and-a-half years of marriage with her second husband, who has also not been named.

But unable to agree to a fair financial settlement, a lengthy and costly legal dispute was triggered in 2017, with a primary focus on the validity of the woman’s pre-nuptial agreement.

The court heard how the wife was “significantly” wealthier than her husband, with assets worth around £3 million and a net income of more than £100,000 per annum. The husband, meanwhile, undertaken the role of primary carer of the wife’s twin daughters.

The husband’s lawyers also argued that the pre-nuptial agreement – signed just five days before the wedding ceremony – was drafted without either party taking legal advice before signing. The legal team also told the court that the husband had filed for bankruptcy during the proceedings, leaving him with little to no assets.

The husband also alleged that the wife had failed to disclose assets. This was countered by the wife’s legal team, who said the husband had also hidden assets.

However, the judge ruled in favour of the husband based on his needs, ordering the wife to pay the sum of £675,000 to pay off the debt he had accrued throughout the course of the legal proceedings.

Adding that the husband had received no financial support from her during the marriage, the judge also ordered the woman to purchase him a property, which will revert to the wife once he dies, as well as 60 per cent of her pension.

Commenting on the validity of the pre-nup, the Judge said: “There is no value in the prenuptial agreement. There was no formal process of disclosure, there was no advice given to either party, other than by the notary who prepared the document and at five days before the ceremony.”

Welcoming the ruling, the husband’s legal team said the case had been “highly acrimonious on both sides” and was “hugely complex because of the non-disclosure allegations that were made, as well as the international aspects of the case”.

“We’re pleased the judge recognised our client’s financial needs should be met to give him a comfortable retirement given the wife’s significantly greater wealth.”

They added: “There are many lessons to be learned from these proceedings, namely that proper legal advice is always recommended when it comes to documents like pre-nups, and that if one of the parties is bankrupt then they will still be able to get financial support in a divorce if needed.”

For family law advice and support, please get in touch with our expert team today.

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Peter Burden

Peter Burden

Associate Director and Head of the Family Department at Mander Hadley Solicitors
I am experienced in all areas of family law, including divorce, financial remedy claims, disputes over children, separation agreements, cohabitation disputes, pre and post nuptial agreements, living together agreements, non-molestation orders and occupation orders.

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