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Mostyn J in Kremen v Agrest dismisses post-nuptial agreement as ‘grossly unfair’

Former wife awarded a lump sum of £12.5 million

Mr Justice Mostyn in the High Court in Kremen v Agrest (No.11) (Financial Remedy: Non-Disclosure: Post-Nuptial Agreement) [2012] EWHC 45 (Fam) has dismissed the post-nuptial agreement made by the parties and awarded the former wife a lump sum of £12.5 million, including £8.3 million constituting maintenance. 

Ms Kremen signed the agreement with her former husband, Boris Agrest, a Russian financier, after the couple had been married for 10 years. Its purported effect was to limit her claims on divorce to about £970,000.

In a judgment which Mostyn J hoped would be the final instalment in a 'chronic and complex piece of matrimonial litigation' he said that he had no hesitation in concluding that:

i) the wife did not freely enter into the agreement with a full appreciation of its implications. It was the product of pressure from H and there was a material absence of independent legal advice and disclosure.

ii) Moreover, it is doubtful that the parties ever actually intended that the agreement should govern the financial consequences of the marriage coming to an end.

iii) It would be grossly unfair to hold her to an agreement which deprived her of her fair share of a fortune to the formation of which she has, in her own way, equally contributed.

iv) Moreover, the agreement did not then, nor does it now, remotely meet her reasonable needs.

v) And the agreement grossly prejudices the needs of the children.

Mostyn J ordered that the husband pay the wife a lump sum of £12.5m. Of this £8.3m was certified as constituting "maintenance".

For the latest judgment in this case, please click here. For an analysis of earlier proceedings, click here