Short term wife and older wealthier husband
John was a 60-year-old professional man who had met his 35-year-old future wife while on holiday. The Wife had poor English skills and no assets. The Husband had assets of $3,500,000.
We advised John to enter into a binding financial agreement with his future Wife to protect his assets in case the marriage failed.
In order to ensure that the binding financial agreement was not successfully challenged, we advised him to delay the wedding by a period of at least 6 months so that his future Wife could not claim duress, and to ensure that the Wife received legal advised from a skilled family lawyer who spoke her language.
The parties separated after a marriage of just 4 months. The Wife sought that John pay her the sum of $500,000.
John offered the Wife the sum of $30,000 to enable her to return to her country and to purchase a house there. The offer was $10,000 more than the agreement provided for after such a short marriage.
The Wife rejected the offer and challenged the agreement in court, professing that she was under duress to sign it and did not understand the content of the agreement as her English skills were poor.
The matter proceeded to trial where a judge decided that the Agreement was binding and protected John’s assets as there had been no duress and she had been to a lawyer who spoke her language and had received the requisite legal advice from him. The Wife receive the sum of $20,000.
An order was also made for the Wife to pay the Husband’s legal costs on the basis that he had made her a Calderbank offer at the commencement of the proceedings for an amount which was higher than the trial judge’s award.
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