Will Rory Mcllroy’s pre-nuptial agreement ‘tee up’ an amicable separation
Jun 2024
Divorce & Family

Will Rory Mcllroy’s pre-nuptial agreement ‘tee up’ an amicable separation?

Louisa Bestford, Senior Associate - Divorce & Family

Following Rory McIlroy’s unexpected announcement of his petition to divorce Erica Stoll, he has hit the headlines again after his wife has been reported to have missed the window to contest the pro golfer’s divorce petition.

Although the divorce was filed in Florida, and therefore subject to American law, the story serves as an important reminder of why pre-nuptial agreements are put in place and the benefits of entering into one should a couple decide to separate.

According to forbes.com, Rory McIlroy is ‘One of the PGA Tour’s most marketable players, with only Tiger Woods earning more off the course’. ‘He scored his biggest pay day in 2022 with a record $26.7 million’. ‘McIlroy and Woods announced in 2022 that they founded TMRW Sports, a tech-focused venture with plans to launch a new golf league called TGL.’ ‘NBC Sports teamed with McIlroy in 2019 to launch GolfPass, a digital subscription service’ and ‘he returned to No.1 in the World Golf Rankings in February 2020 as of May 2024, he ranked second.’

He and his wife entered into a pre-nuptial agreement when they married in 2017. It would be expected that prior to signing the agreement they shared full disclosure of their financial assets but neither of them could predict McIlroy’s future wealth, to include sponsorship deals and other business interests that would generate a significant income stream. How these assets will be reflected in the final settlement is unknown, will Stoll challenge the pre-nuptial agreement?

At 35 years old, Mcllroy finds himself on a Sunday Times Rich List 2024, he will need a well drafted pre-nuptial agreement to ensure the terms agreed when the couple married are upheld. Whether the couple’s pre-nuptial agreement is deemed valid will be determined by the relevant Florida court’s jurisdiction.

A landmark divorce case in 2010 redefined how a pre-nuptial agreement is implemented under UK law and had McIlroy’s application been filed in England and Wales the court would have discretion to look behind it, consider whether it is fair, valid and should be upheld in full or in part.

When tested both parties should have received full disclosure of the other party’s financial situation when entering into the agreement. The agreement must be fair, contractually valid, understood by both parties and made at least 28 days before the wedding. In all cases children should not be prejudiced.

This judgment means that usually, people should expect to be held to the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement. There are some situations where someone might successfully challenge the agreement but in general, if the criteria for a valid agreement is met, the agreement will be enforced unless there is a good reason not to.

Hopefully, McIlroy and Stoll’s pre-nuptial agreement will serve them well, fairly dividing the couple’s assets so that they can move forwards amicably and co-parent their young daughter.

To find out more about how pre-nuptial agreements work and how to put one in place, please get in touch.

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