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An ex-wife of a property tycoon has warned women in a similar position against signing post-nuptial agreements after she has been stung by her own.

Mr and Mrs Hopkins married in 2009 and entered into a post-nuptial agreement (which has the same legal status as a pre-nuptial agreement) two years later. Last month the family court upheld the post-nuptial agreement which left Mrs Hopkins with two properties, a car and a £200,000 share of Mr Hopkins’ pension while he retained his assets worth over £38 million.

Against legal advice, Mrs Hopkins signed the post-nuptial agreement and was found by the judge to have done so with a full appreciation of the implications. The judge rejected her claim that she was bullied into signing the agreement and determined that it was fair to hold the parties to the agreement because it took account of Mrs Hopkins’ needs.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mrs Hopkins argued more should be done to protect vulnerable women against the pressure to sign an unfair agreement. This case is a reminder that pre and post-nuptial agreements will be upheld by the courts when certain conditions are met, namely that the agreement is freely entered into with a full understanding of the implications and that it does not leave one of the parties in a financial predicament.

The courts’ approach gives more autonomy and certainty to couples who want to agree the terms of their finances in case they divorce and avoid the cost and stress of litigation. However, there is a risk that one side may be pressured to sign a pre or post-nuptial agreement in order to keep the peace with their partner, to their disadvantage.

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