The value of a good pre-nuptial agreement
It is being reported that, following her financial settlement worth £350 million, Kirsty Bertarelli is now the “richest divorcee” in Britain.
Kirsty Bertarelli was married to the Italian biotech billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli for 21 years, and the couple have three children together. The couple were jointly listed in the Sunday Times 2021 Rich List with a fortune of £9.2 billion – so why has Mrs Bertarelli walked away with a mere £350 million?
It is understood that the couple entered into a Swiss prenuptial agreement, and it has been suggested that the settlement was more generous to Mrs Bertarelli than was required under the terms of that agreement; Mr Bertarelli being keen to avoid litigation and be respectful of their long marriage.
Given the family’s wealth, it is highly likely that Mrs Bertarelli would have taken legal advice in the jurisdiction of England and Wales on the potential for her to file divorce proceedings in this jurisdiction and pursue a financial settlement here. Most likely, Mrs Bertarelli was advised that the Court in England would have given her prenuptial agreement considerable weight and that the costs and risks of litigation were not worth it in her circumstances.
A prenuptial agreement is a very valuable document for protecting your finances on divorce and avoiding litigation. To withstand challenge, it must be properly drafted and both parties should receive independent legal advice before signing. It will be essential that:
- there has been clear and full disclosure of both parties’ financial positions;
- the agreement is fair in the circumstances, meets the parties’ financial needs and provides for any children (and so it should be regularly reviewed and kept up to date); and,
- that is has been freely entered into by both parties (and so it is best to sign at least 28 days before the wedding).
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