The husband tried to argue that he was “emotionally or psychologically dependent” on the younger lady when they discussed marriage. He claimed he was manipulated into agreeing to give her $3.25 million in a pre-nuptial agreement.
In particular, he argued that the quality and quantity of their sexual relationship declined following marriage and that he came to believe that she was not in love with him, nor did she want to have children with him.
Unfortunately the couple separated only two years after their marriage.
Justice Robert Benjamin found that the husband had failed to prove that he had been coerced into the pre-nuptial agreement. The Court found that the wife’s claim that she loved her husband and that the sex had not changed after the marriage was more believable.
The Court also found that the husband had tried to belittle the wife and her work as a lap dancer during the hearing.
Many couples consider signing “pre-nups” or Binding Financial Agreements before living together or before marrying.
Some people are of the view that they should sign a pre-nuptial agreement in order to protect assets which they owned prior to the relationship. In particular, people may feel this way if it is their second marriage and they both have children from previous relationships, whose entitlement to assets they want to protect.
Another reason some couples enter into a Binding Financial Agreement before either living together or marrying is so that they themselves have control over how assets would be divided if they did unfortunately separate, rather than leaving these matters to the Court.
Although in this matter the Court upheld the agreement, couples need to be aware that such agreements are not necessarily water-tight and that there may be instances in which the Court will find the agreement is not valid. In addition to whether or not technical requirements of the legislation have been complied with, instances when the agreements may not be valid include if one party argues that they signed the agreement under duress. Common examples of this may include, for example, if the female partner is pregnant and her partner will not marry her unless she signs such a document or if one party is under threat of being deported and has been told that the marriage will not go ahead unless she signs the agreement.
One way in which parties can reduce the risk that the Binding Financial Agreement will later be found to be invalid is if both parties receive proper and thorough legal advice in relation to the agreement, with a real chance for both parties to negotiate and make amendments to the agreement. This reduces the potential for arguing that they were forced into the Agreement and that it should be set aside in the future.
If you have are considering the possibility of entering into a Binding Financial Agreement before living together or marrying, please contact us at Armstrong Legal on 9261 4555.