It’s been just over 2 months since the news broke that hotel porter, Anil Ipekci, had been awarded a £1.3 million divorce payout after a judge found that the prenuptial agreement that he and his wife, Morgan McConnell (the great-granddaughter of the Avon cosmetics founder), had entered into, which reportedly left him “penniless”, was unfair.
When Mr Ipekci and Ms McConnell’s relationship had started, Mr Ipekci reportedly had no money, whereas Ms McConnell is said to be a beneficiary of trusts totaling “at least £49 million”.
The prenup that Mr Ipekci and Ms McConnell had drawn up, was signed around 2 weeks before their marriage took place.
Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups”, have become increasingly popular in the UK, despite the fact that they are not actually legally binding in England and Wales. In order for a prenup to stand the best chance of being enforced by the courts, it must be entered into correctly and with independent legal advice. If the court finds that it’s unfair to uphold the terms of a prenup, it still has discretion to make financial orders of its choosing.
What can we learn from this case?
Prenuptial agreements must be fair
According to the case of Radmacher v Granatino:
“The court should give effect to a nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by each party with a full appreciation of its implications unless in the circumstances prevailing it would not be fair to hold the parties to their agreement”.
In the case of Mr Ipekci and Ms McConnell, the judge said that it would be “wholly unfair” to enforce the agreement because Mr Ipekci would be left with nothing. This is because the terms of the prenup stated that Mr Ipekci would get half of any increase in the value of three of the properties owned by Ms McConnell. There was no increase in value of these properties, so therefore he would have ended up with nothing (under the terms of the prenup).
In the end, Mr Ipekci was awarded £1.3 million by Mr Justice Nicholas Mostyn including a capital sum to purchase a property and a sum to pay debts (including unpaid legal fees).
Independent legal advice is also essential
The court also considers a number of other factors when it comes to prenuptial agreements, including whether each party obtained independent legal advice.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the court will also look at the length of time between the signing of the prenup and the wedding, so when entering into a prenuptial agreement, it’s always a good idea to take your time and plan ahead.
Getting married? Get in touch to talk to one of our experienced solicitors about the possibility of a prenup.
This article was written by Lauren Howells and Megan Bennie.