Canada: Prenup Unfair and Unenforceable Because Wealthy Spouse Did Not Disclose Value of Assets

Husband and Wife decide to marry.

Husband insists on prenup – or else.

Confusing prenup is quickly patched together with three different lawyers.

Under prenup, Wife waives everything. No property division in event of divorce. No alimony in event of divorce. No nothing in event of divorce.

Wife requests a valuation of Husband’s assets. Husband refuses – on the basis that it would be too expensive to obtain one.

Couple marry.

Turns out Husband is a multimillionaire.

Seven years later, couple splits up.

Wife asks for property division and alimony.

Trial court awards it, voiding prenup over Husband’s failure to disclose the value of his assets.

Canada’s Supreme Court refuses to hear Husband’s appeal, leaving the holding stand.

Some commentators vigorously condemn the trial court’s ruling. They criticize the court for requiring expensive asset valuations to validate prenups.

This attitude may be premature overreaction.

Several US states require asset disclosures in prenups. A precise formal valuation is not typically required though.

Just a disclosure of the rough nature and approximate value of the assets. Closer to $1 million or $10 million? $8 million or $12 million?

Is an “expensive, formal valuation” really required to give “fair notice” of the approximate value of what the spouse would be waiving?

Read more in this Canadian National Post article: Karen Selick: Court ruling means marrying for love is not an option.