The case for prenup agreements: Jim Davidson says his divorces cost him 60 million

Jim Davidson revealed to Piers Morgan during his interview for the programme ‘’Life Stories’’ that his 4 divorces cost him about 60 million. Your first reaction is probably the same as mine: what, is that a joke and what’s the punchline? Sadly, it was no joke.

The comedian has been married to his fifth wife since 2009 but his first 4 marriages respectively lasted 2 years, 5 years, 2 years and 10 years.

If ever there was a husband who needed a prenup agreement (or two or three) it is probably Jim Davidson. You may well think that Jim Davidson is a bit of a one off but as a specialist family finance lawyer it is increasingly common to advise husbands and wives who are getting married for the second or third time and sadly sometimes I advise husbands and wives who are getting divorced for the third or fourth time.

If you are getting remarried a prenup agreement should be on the wedding ‘’to do’’ list

It can be difficult to resolve family finances on a second or subsequent divorce as often the value of a husband or wife’s assets won’t have fully recovered after their first divorce. Alternatively there can be arguments over whether property or pensions acquired before the second or subsequent marriage should be taken into account in the financial settlement. Those problems can be resolved by a couple sorting out a prenup agreement prior to their marriage. Prenup agreements are ideal for second or later marriages as they can:

  • Protect property or pensions owned prior to the second marriage;
  • Protect assets for the benefit of children from earlier marriages;
  • Protect assets transferred into the husband or wife’s name but used by another family member, such as a house purchased for the use of an adult son or daughter or a house transferred into the name of the husband or wife by an elderly relative;
  • Protect an inheritance or a potential inheritance;
  • Protect family business interests;
  • Protect claims against trust interests.

What do you need for a prenup agreement to work?

There are a few requirements to make a prenup agreement as effective as possible, such as:

  • Both husband and wife should take their own independent legal advice;
  • Both husband and wife need to have an understanding and knowledge of the other’s assets and income;
  • The agreement should be signed ideally at least 28 days before the wedding;
  • The agreement must meet both the husband and wife’s needs or in other words be fair to both of them. What is ‘’fair’’ is an objective assessment and that is one of the reasons why it is important to get bespoke legal advice about what could and should go into the prenup agreement.

 What next?

If you are planning a marriage then in my opinion it is never too early to ask about a prenup agreement. That’s because the sooner the agreement is signed off the sooner you can both focus on the actual wedding planning.

I don’t often think of Jim Davidson as an example to others but his report of getting through 60 million on his marriages and divorces shows not only that remarriage is no laughing matter but just how important a prenup agreement can be in reducing litigation and the legal costs of divorce proceedings.

For advice about prenup agreements or for advice on family finance settlements please call me on +44 (0) 1477 464020 or email me at robin@evolvefamilylaw.co.uk