Congratulations and felicitations to Adele and Simon Konecki! After 5 years together they have decided to tie the knot which Adele revealed on stage at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles while collecting her 5 Grammy’s.
What if they had decided to complete a prenuptial agreement in advance of their wedding? With Simon’s family in Florida and Adele’s feet firmly on the ground in London how would they decide in which country to end their marriage in the unlikely event that they chose to go their separate ways at some point in the future?
Come to think of it, what if any celebrity international couple such as Amal and George Clooney, Russell Brand and Katy Perry, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman or Wendi Deng and Rupert Murdoch had decided to complete a prenuptial agreement? How would they have decided where to dissolve their marriage in the event of its breakdown and how would they have dealt with this issue within their prenuptial agreement?
In fact, it is a far more commonplace conundrum which affects many couples and not just those with international celebrity status.
How does the French banker, for example, who takes an English wife and commutes between France and London every week make a decision? How does an English academic, for example, who takes an American husband and moves to an Ivy League University in the United States deal with this issue? The answer is that careful thought needs to be given to this when entering into a prenuptial agreement both as to where divorce proceedings might take place in the unlikely event of the breakdown of the parties’ marriage and which legal system should apply in the event of a dispute.
Just like any other uncertainties, these can be pinned down as part of the prenuptial agreement itself. It is standard practice, for example, to include a clause stating in which country proceedings will take place and stating the laws of which land will apply in the event of any dispute. However, what happens if the parties both happen to be residing in a different country from the one selected as a jurisdiction in the agreement when their marriage breaks down? What happens if both parties’ choice of applicable law set out in their prenuptial agreement is not available to them in the country in which their marriage breaks down?
It is for this reason that international prenuptial agreements need to be drawn up and negotiated by experts in International Family Law who are not only able to spot the possible pitfalls but who are also able to provide for alternative jurisdictions and alternative applicable law systems. Although some lawyers are qualified to practise in more than one country, many are not, given the vastly differing legal systems around the world and the increasing demands to be a specialist lawyer in your own jurisdiction. It requires, therefore, an expert with specialist knowledge of their own jurisdiction, expertise in international cases and a network of absolutely first-rate, “go-to” lawyers in other jurisdictions around the world.
Add to that, the wildly differing outcomes of financial settlements in different countries around the world and it becomes clear why instructing specialist lawyers, such as those at Grayfords, is an absolute must. If you act in haste you may end up repenting at leisure.