21 September 2017
Prenuptial Agreements – Separate Legitimate Expectations From Insane Demands
Give me half the money from the sale of the house and don’t move abroad with my children – they’re standard things you’d expect to read on a pre-nuptial agreement.
Don’t date in public for five years after we split up, however, is something a little less common.
But bizarre requests made in prenuptial agreements hit the headlines recently as rumours surrounded unusual demands made by Tom Cruise.
A variety of sources reported on alleged terms of their ‘quickie divorce’ which focused on how Tom’s ex-wife Katie Holmes was not allowed to mention their marriage or date anyone publicly for five years after their split.
I doubt that these were terms of a divorce settlement though. They’re more likely to have been requests made earlier in a prenuptial agreement before they even tied the knot.
I do a lot of pre-nups and I’ve had some unusual requests over the years.
Many will also remember the case last year where a man in Saudi asked for a divorce from his new bride just two hours after the wedding after it emerged she had posted pictures of it on social media.
She’d signed a prenuptial agreement to say that she would not use social-media applications but had gone on to use Snapchat to share pictures from the ceremony with a female friend.
Prenuptial agreements are dealt with differently across the world.
In America, a pre-nup is legally binding whereas, in the UK, a number of other factors have to be considered for it to carry any weight.
For example, over here, a pre-nup is only legally binding if both partners have sought independent legal advice about it before signing it.
In both countries though, a solicitor couldn’t just draft a long list of their client’s demands and expect the other partner to sign it – it would be a waste of everyone’s time.
While my aim is always to get the best deal for my client, I have to be honest with them when their demands are unreasonable as it’s not worth taking the time to write it when the partner will simply be advised not to sign it.
When it comes to making a prenuptial agreement, focus on the things that really matter to you – your children and financial assets for example.
Come up with reasonable demands, such as where the children should be schooled if your relationship breaks down or how much of your savings should go to your ex.
Lorraine Harvey is a senior family law solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.