When a prenuptial agreement is signed before marriage, it usually means that if the couple later decides to part the divorce settlement will give possession of the assets of the marriage to the partner who has title to that property, no matter what the usual property division in the divorce jurisdiction might be.
But what about prenuptial agreements that were signed in another country? Would a prenuptial agreement signed in France before a marriage performed in the US be upheld if the couple spent the 13 years following their marriage in the US? Especially when the petition for divorce was filed in the US?
A high profile divorce case being argued in Manhattan will answer these questions. He is Olivier Sarkozy the brother of French President Nicolas Sarkozy. She is Charlotte Sarkozy, whose wealthy French family insisted the prenuptial agreement in the first place.
Before the marriage took place, Sarkozy flew to France to sign the agreement, which stipulated that the couple marry in France. Because his passport had been confiscated years before because of his refusal to serve in the France military, Sarkozy hadn’t been to his home country for 20 years.
The marriage took place in 1997, in Nantucket. The couple resided in New York during the term of their marriage, where Sarkozy found financial success. During the time of the marriage his wealth soared.
But, the good times have ended and the couple is ready to call it quits. But there is the matter of that pesky legal document that was signed in France all those years ago.
Charlotte Sarkozy wants the document, originally intended to protect her, thrown out. Oliver Sarkozy, on the other hand, feels that the document, which he signed to please his wife’s family, is legal and should serve to insure that he keeps title to the possessions his financial success has reaped.
In New York, where the divorce is taking place, property is usually split down the middle. At stake is an $11 million townhouse, several financial accounts and a modern art collection.