Prenup signed on eve of wedding – was there undue influence? Which case won?
Engagement between people of vastly different personal circumstances
A couple became acquainted on the internet via a website for potential brides. He was a wealthy property developer, an older man who had previously been married and who had three adult children from his first marriage. His family was in Australia, as were his assets, which were worth between $18 million and $24 million.
She was an Eastern European woman who was much younger than him, had been married and divorced, had no children and wanted to have children of her own. She had no assets, spoke little English and her family lived overseas. She had no connections or community in Australia.
The couple met overseas in person shortly after meeting via the website. He took her on an extended European holiday and met her family. Seven months after they met, the couple moved to Australia with the intention of getting married.e took
Man asks woman to sign binding financial agreement
Ten days prior to the wedding, the man asked the woman to enter into a binding financial agreement and arranged for her to see a lawyer.
The woman’s lawyer advised her not to sign the agreement, stating in writing that it had been drafted solely to protect the man’s interests and in no way considered hers. Despite this advice, she signed the agreement four days before the wedding.
Wife seeks declaration that financial agreements were not binding
Under the terms of the financial agreement, the wife was to receive a penthouse apartment as well as some money and a vehicle in the event of the couple’s separation. However, the penthouse apartment did not come to fruition due to a problem with the property development encountered by the husband.
The wife commenced legal proceedings, seeking a declaration that the financial agreements were not binding. The husband contended that the financial agreements were binding. To complicate matters more, the husband passed away during the proceedings.
It was up to the court to decide whether the financial agreements should be set aside.