A piece in the print edition of today’s Times:
The former wife of a champion racing driver won her battle not to be cut out of his £11 million fortune yesterday despite having signed three prenuptial agreements saying that she would get none of his money.
Anita Brack, 51, had asked three Court of Appeal judges to overturn the decision of a High Court judge two years ago, arguing that she was entitled to half of Kenny Brack’s fortune. When the couple split up after 15 years and two children together Ms Brack said she was left with almost nothing.
Mr Brack, 52, who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1999, wanted the appeal dismissed but Lord Justice Lewison, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Jackson ruled in his ex-wife’s favour.
They said the High Court had made an error and should reconsider Ms Brack’s claims. Lady Justice King urged the Bracks to negotiate a settlement before then, having subjected themselves to “punishing litigation” for more than three years at a “huge financial and emotional cost”.
The Bracks, who lived in Maidenhead, Berkshire, married in 2000 after living together since 1994. They signed a prenuptial agreement during a weekend at a luxury hotel near Niagara Falls shortly before marrying, judges were told. Ms Brack then signed two more agreements, in Sweden and the USA.
By signing the papers, Mr Brack claimed, his wife had agreed that if they divorced he would keep all of his fortune. Ms Brack, however, said that the agreements were unfair to her. [J4MB: Then why did she sign them? Presumably because she knew that they wouldn’t be honoured in a British court, possibly she had legal advice to this effect. She had the option both of not signing the agreements, and not marrying. But that would have limited her ability to fleece her high-earning husband in the courts.]
Mr Brack retired from racing in 2003 after breaking his back in an accident.
Lady Justice King said yesterday: “Each of the parties have made equal, but different, contributions to the marriage. Following the birth of the children the wife was the homemaker. Other than her half share in the former matrimonial home, the wife had no assets in her own name and has debt, some of which is owed to the husband. [J4MB emphasis. We can safely say he’ll never see the debt repaid.]
“In the four years since their separation the parties have spent in excess of £1 million in legal fees. By the time of trial the wife was in debt to the tune of £350,000.
“In my judgement the judge did fall into error in going so far as to conclude . . . that the wife had inevitably lost her sharing claim by reason of the prenuptial agreement.” [J4MB translation: I’m going to treat the wife as lacking any responsibility for her actions, and hand over his money to her, because vagina.]
On the plus side, cases like this discourage well-off men from marrying, because in British courts prenups and postnups clearly aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
Never forget the golden rule, men shouldn’t marry.
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