Posted Dec 20, 2007 04:33 pm CST
In a case that may change the way antenuptial agreements are handled in the U.K., a wealthy British bride who had essentially separated from her fourth husband within six months of their marriage is seeking to invalidate a premarital pact that each keeps his or her own assets in a divorce.
Susan Crossley, 50, has been unlucky in love, but no one could possibly contend that she hasn’t married well, reports the London Times. After three marriages to well-to-do, socially prominent men and a 16 million-pound divorce settlement with her third husband, racing magnate Robert Sangster, she went on to marry Stuart Crossley, 62, who allegedly is worth 45 million pounds.
But his new wife says he didn’t reveal some 60 million pounds in accounts in Monaco and Andorra to her before they got married, invalidating their antenuptial agreement. So far, however, he seems to have the edge in their divorce: A High Court judge has approved, and an appeals court has upheld an unusual plan to hear the case in an expedited one-day trial in February, despite her argument that this isn’t enough time to prove that her husband didn’t disclose his assets to her.
Although antenuptial agreements aren’t legally binding in Britain, courts do take them into account in divorce cases. And, the decision to expedite the divorce trial in the Crossley case at least arguably seems to offer a further stamp of approval, according to the Times. However, legislation approving antenuptial agreements would make the situation clearer, as one judge noted when issuing the appellate opinion in the case.