A rare case. Overwhelmingly where pre-nups are ignored in the UK, it is done in order to benefit ex-wives financially. A piece by Jonathan Ames, Legal Editor, in today’s Times:
A hotel concierge who married a cosmetics heiress has been awarded £1.3 million in a divorce despite signing a pre-nuptial agreement.
Anil Ipekci, who earns about £35,000 a year, married Morgan McConnell, the great-granddaughter of David McConnell, who founded Avon, the American cosmetics conglomerate, in 2005.
Ms McConnell is the beneficiary of trusts of at least £49 million, Mr Justice Mostyn said in the family division of the High Court in London yesterday.
If the court had adhered to the pre-nuptial agreement, Mr Ipekci would not have been entitled to any payout.
The couple met in New York in 2003 after Mr Ipekci, 45, who is originally from Turkey, had been made bankrupt and was working as a concierge at Le Parker Meridien in Manhattan.
At the time he had no assets beyond his earnings, the judge heard.
Mr Ipekci, who works at the Hilton Metropole near Regent’s Park, in London — a midrange hotel dating from the 1970s — had made a “financial remedy claim” after the divorce.
In his ruling, the judge said: “The vast amount of money generated by the Avon business for the McConnell family means that, along with other relatives, she is the beneficiary of trusts in the US with an overall value of at least $65 million [£49 million].”
Mr Justice Mostyn said the couple had begun living together in early 2005 and agreed to marry. He said that “unsurprisingly, given that the wife was a wealthy American heiress”, a pre-nuptial agreement was suggested. Mr Ipekci signed the deal two weeks before the couple married in November 2005.
Under the agreement, Mr Justice Mostyn said, Mr Ipekci was to receive a half share in any increase in the value of three properties his wife owned in the event of divorce. The judge ruled that it would be “wholly unfair” to hold Mr Ipekci to that deal.
He added that there had been no increase in the value of the properties and therefore, in the agreement, Mr Ipekci would get nothing.
The judge said that he had made a decision about the size of a payout based on Mr Ipekci’s needs. In his ruling, he said that the couple lived in London while they were married and enjoyed a “reasonably high standard” of living.
Mr Ipekci had worked throughout the marriage and following the separation in 2016 had moved to “very modest rented accommodation”.
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