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The significance of international post and prenups for professional athletes

The significance of international post and prenups for professional athletes

Post and prenuptial agreements have become an essential consideration for couples entering into marriage, providing a clear framework for financial arrangements and asset protection. While these agreements hold significance for all walks of life, their importance is particularly pronounced for professional sports athletes who often have very complex and high-value financial situations. Professional sports athletes often move abroad to enhance their careers, in these scenarios a pre- or post-nuptial agreement should be seriously considered.

Chris Longbottom, specialist family lawyer, delves into the significance of post and prenuptial agreements for international sports athletes.

How could a prenuptial agreement affect an international divorce?

When you’re happily in love and planning a wedding, the idea of a prenuptial agreement can seem horribly unromantic. But planning ahead makes a lot of sense if you are already wealthy, in line for a substantial inheritance, or marrying for the second (or more) time.

A well-written prenup can protect your existing wealth, family assets and future prospects, as well as giving you and your partner reassurance about what will happen if your marriage should ever fail.

However, even the most watertight prenup may not be enforceable if you’ve moved to a different country by the time you decide to divorce.

Will my prenup be recognised by a foreign court?

Not always – so if you do decide to divorce in another country it’s wise to seek advice about the impact that could have on any prenuptial agreements drawn up in the UK.

If you have an existing pre-nuptial agreement, you should carefully consider where to file for divorce. If you are living in another country, you may be eligible to divorce in multiple jurisdictions. For example, you may be able to divorce in any country where you or your spouse live regularly (for work or study etc), live permanently or a country where either you or your spouse are nationals.

When you’re making your decision, you should consider where the prenup was written and whether it is likely to be recognised by the court in that jurisdiction. It’s vital to get advice from a specialist international divorce solicitor about which jurisdiction would help you achieve the best outcome for you and your family.

Do I need a prenuptial agreement if I move abroad?

Sport relocation abroad can have significant impacts on families, particularly if the move is semi-permanent such as transferring to a new club or country. There are many family law issues to consider such as Child Arrangement Orders (CAO), but it may also increase the need for a nuptial agreement to be created in that country. Sports athletes should certainly seek legal advice before taking up residence in another country, even if they have no plans to divorce.

A prenup could be invaluable if your marriage did break down while you were living abroad, particularly if either you or your spouse is independently wealthy. Even if you already have a prenup in the UK or another jurisdiction, it makes sense to set up a separate agreement that would apply in your new home.

If you’re already married, you could commission an additional post-nuptial agreement for that jurisdiction or create an agreement that any financial settlements will be made in the country where your original prenuptial was written.

Will my foreign prenup be recognised in the UK?

You may be considering creating a prenup, ‘matrimonial regime’, ‘marital property system’ or even an agreement to cover your assets abroad, in different country.

If are entering such an arrangement, it’s vital to take account of jurisdictional differences and issues before you come to the UK, and possibly include clauses that will apply in both jurisdictions. You need to ensure certainty if the worst should happen and you decide to divorce, by making sure the courts in both countries will interpret the agreement as you wish.

The benefits of an international prenup

Even if you’re both British and live in the UK, there are plenty of good reasons to set up a prenuptial agreement. After all, who knows where life or your careers could take you?

But the advantages are even greater if you and your spouse are from different countries, have assets or property abroad, or live overseas. It’s always wise for international couples to consider drawing up a prenup that will apply in any relevant jurisdiction. This could be known as an international prenuptial agreement, an ante-nuptial agreement, a premarital agreement, or even simply a marriage contract.

If you do decide to divorce in the future, an existing international agreement could dramatically simplify proceedings that could otherwise be complicated, baffling and horribly expensive.

High-profile divorces, particularly those involving sports figures, are often more complex and present unique challenges compared to typical divorces. For instance, the divorce of international footballer Achraf Hakimi and his wife Hiba Abouk in 2023 attracted significant media attention due to the unusual financial circumstances involved. When Abouk filed for divorce and sought half of Hakimi’s assets, she would have been shocked to learn that Hakimi had actually been registering 80% of his earnings and assets under his mother’s name. This significantly complicated Abouk’s efforts to secure a substantial portion of his wealth.

Such instances emphasise the importance of consulting with a specialist divorce lawyer when creating or modifying a nuptial agreement to ensure that financial interests are adequately protected in the event of a divorce.

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Speak to one of our specialist divorce and family lawyers by contacting us on 0800 652 8025 or by sending an enquiry.


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