In the case of Kremen v Agrest , The Family Division disregarded a post-nuptial agreement after finding the husband had not disclosed the extent of his wealth.
The couple were both Russian nationals who had married in Moscow in 1991. They went on to have three children together. In 2001, whilst in Israel, the parties signed a post-nuptial agreement which was later approved by an Israeli court. In 2007 the marriage failed and the husband began proceedings in Israel to enforce the post-nuptial agreement. Later that year litigation began in the UK.
An interim maintenance order was made and the husband was ordered to pay the wife £8,000 a month plus the children’s school fees. The husband refused to pay the maintenance and fled the country.
The husband argued that although he had once been very wealthy, his fortune had diminished and at the time he had no assets whatever. The wife asserted that this was incorrect and that her estranged husband was in fact worth at least £100 million.
The court ruled that there was evidence that the husband had assets in the region of £20m and £30m. The wife had not freely entered into the post-nuptial agreement with a full understanding of its implications. It was also doubted that the parties had ever intended the post-nuptial agreement to deal with the financial aspects of their marriage ending. It was also ruled unfair to hold the wife to an agreement which would deprive her of her fair share of the wealth, which in her own way, she helped to build. The agreement did not meet her reasonable needs and prejudiced the needs of the children.
The post-nuptial agreement was therefore disregarded and the wife was awarded £12.5m.