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Cheryl Cole, 31, and French businessman Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini, 33, surprised all by marrying in secret on 7 July after a very brief relationship. This will be Cheryl’s second marriage having filed for divorce in 2010 after it was revealed that footballer ex husband Ashley Cole had been unfaithful. According to the press, the love-struck Cheryl Cole (now known as Cheryl Fernandez-Versini) has refused to sign a pre-nup before her whirlwind marriage to J-B.

The singer, ‘X Factor‘ judge and businesswomen, is reported to have a 16 million pound fortune however the smitten Cheryl is not a fan of pre-nups, she did not sign one when she married first husband Ashley Cole and reportedly regards them as “disgusting”-  certainly not a view shared by the vast majority of Family Lawyers. A pre-nup is not just for the rich and famous, it is a formal agreement entered into by a couple before they marry or enter into a Civil Partnership which sets out what is to happen to their assets in the event of a divorce or dissolution. Although Pre-nups may not necessarily be considered romantic, a properly drafted agreement may offer a couple greater certainty and may enable a couple to protect their respective financial resources in the event of divorce.

Pre-nups, although enforceable in most US States and elsewhere in the world, are not legally binding in England and Wales. In 2010 however the Supreme Court in the case of Radmacher -v- Granatino held that pre-nups should be persuasive and ought to have a significant bearing on the financial outcome of a divorce as long as they have been properly drawn up and would not be unjust to either spouse. Divorce courts have a very wide discretion when it comes to dividing assets and courts tend to consider the value of assets in existence at the time of the divorce and divide those assets between a couple in light of their respective needs and those of any children and in line with other guidelines set out by the divorce laws and case law. This can often lead to an uncertain outcome with the wealthier spouse potentially having to give away a substantial amount of his or her wealth to the other spouse.

A pre-nup, if properly drafted can therefore offer some financial safeguards in the event of a divorce and may help in avoiding lengthy and costly legal disputes. Cheryl would have been well advised to consider a pre-nup in order to protect her vast fortune and we only hope that she won’t regret refusing to sign one.

Kerry Russell, Associate Solicitor – Gorvins