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Pre-nuptial agreements? You better think twice …

2015-12-14 Default avatar DenningMR





This article is for general informational purposes only and is not meant to be used or construed as legal advice in any manner whatsoever.



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Watching Hollywood movies and reading all those gossip portals have exposed us to all those juicy stories about celebrity marriages and divorces.

Here is a list of some top divorces:

Michael and Juanita Jordan

After a 17 year marriage, legendary basketball player Michael Jordan divorced his wife Juanita. The settlement, a cool USD168 million.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, fathered a child with a former maid and this brought an end to his marriage with Maria Shriver. Estimates of the cost to Arnold ranges from USD250 million to USD375 million. In California, the wife is entitled to half of the huband’s assets.

Mel and Robyn Gibson

Word has it that this was the biggest celebrity divorce settlement of all time. Robyn walked away with a sum of USD425 million.

Now to some this may seem to be a lot but it’s nothing really compared to billionaire divorces. Read on …

Rupert and Anna Murdoch

Media mogul, Rupert Murdoch divorced after a 37 year marriage. Anna gained a sum of USD1.7 billion in the settlement.

Dmitry Rybolovlev and Elena Rybolovelva

Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev and his wife Elena Rybolovelva, both separated after 26 years of marriage. The settlement was reported to be a whopping USD4.8 billion.

So after reading this, some of you out there may say, “I am going to get a pre-nuptial and ensure that my hard earned money won’t part with me.” Hmmmmm … you better think again.

Pre-nuptials are an agreement that is entered into between the couple prior to marriage. Its main concern is with the distribution of assets in the event that the marriage fails.

The law governing divorce in Malaysia is contained in the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (hereafter ‘LRA 1976’).

The division of matrimonial asset in a divorce is addressed by Section 76 of the LRA 1976. The section empowers the court to order the division of matrimonial assets.

Section 56 of the LRA 1976 allows a party in divorce proceedings to refer the court to any agreement or arrangement made prior to the marriage to enable the court to express an opinion as to the reasonableness of the agreement or arrangement and to give such directions, if any, in the matter as it thinks fit.

Hence, it is clear that with Section 56 of the LRA 1976, the courts may exercise its judicial discretion over a pre-nuptial agreement.

So far in Malaysia there has yet to be a case in which pre-nuptial agreements have been brought before the court. So far, only post-nuptial ones such as a deed of separation and maintenance agreements.

Nonetheless, it is doubtful that a pre-nuptial agreement will be able to supersede the powers of the court as provided for in Sections 76 and 56 of the LRA 1976.

However, there might be a chance that in the event that the pre-nuptial is reasonable, the courts may give an order in accordance with the terms of the said agreement. But then again, it is the court exercising its discretion.

It would be safe to say that the courts in Malaysia are slow to just accept the terms of a pre-nuptial in its entirety. The courts are here to dispense justice, and in the case of divorces, it will do its job.

So in short, a pre-nuptial is no guarantee.
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