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Cheryl closer to ending Versini marriage

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The blame game

The short lived marriage of Cheryl Fernandez Versini's and Jean-Bernard Fernandez Versini is closer to being ended as the Central Family Court in London today awarded the couple a decre nisi.

The former pop star and ex-wife of footballer Ashley Cole saw her second marriage break down earlier this year, less than a year from tying the knot.

The A-list couple met in January 2014 and married in July 2014, following a whirlwind romance. However, the couple soon separated in autumn 2015 and announced they were divorcing in January this year.

Following the divorce announcement, there was speculation that Jean-Bernard may pursue a large settlement from Cheryl, whose estimated assets are £20m, as they had not signed a pre-nuptial agreement.

Pre-nuptial agreements are commonly used to protect money or assets brought into the marriage by one or both parties. Whilst pre-nuptial agreements are not binding under English law they are increasingly considered persuasive evidence by the courts as to how the couple intended the assets to be split in case of a divorce. The courts accept that people should be allowed to make arrangements for how they want their assets to be split in the event of a divorce.

The general principle is that all marital assets (assets gained during your marriage) should be divided fairly in case of a divorce. The court considers a number of factors; whether there are children, age of parties, income earning capacity and resources, standard of living during the marriage, financial needs and obligations, any disabilities, exceptional conduct and any contributions made to the family.

In cases such as this, where a couple is young, childless, the marriage was short-lived and each has sufficient assets to live on, the court usually divides the assets so as to return the parties to the financial position they were in before the marriage. The court is under an obligation to consider a 'clean break' order, which will prevent either party from making any future claims.

In the case of Cheryl Fernandez Versini's and Jean-Bernard Fernandez Versini it has been reported that the couple have now come to an agreement following months of negotiation and Jean - Bernard has agreed not to claim any of Cheryl's fortune.

In a case such as this, if an agreement is reached out of court, the court can formalise this and make an order by consent if the couple requires so. This is an order the court can make without the parties needing to appear in court. Couples are urged to come to an agreement amongst themselves as this avoids the expense, time and stress of litigation.

If you would like to know more about any aspects of divorce or pre-nups call us on 01616 966 229.

By Hannah Mallin, graduate paralegal in the family law team.