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Chris Longbottom

Partner and National Family Team Manager, Clarke Willmott

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Sport relocation abroad can have significant impacts on families

The significance of international post and prenups for professional athletes

The significance of international post and prenups for professional athletes


Chris Longbottom, Partner, Clarke Willmott examines how a prenuptial agreement can affect an international divorce

Post and prenuptial agreements have become an essential consideration for couples entering into marriage, providing a clear framework for financial arrangements and asset protection. While these agreements hold significance for all walks of life, their importance is particularly pronounced for professional sports athletes who often have very complex and high-value financial situations.

These athletes often move abroad to enhance their careers, so in these scenarios a pre- or post-nuptial agreement should be seriously considered – witness the divorce last year of international footballer Achraf Hakimi from his wife Hiba Abouk.

How Could a Prenuptial Agreement Affect an International Divorce?

When a couple is happily in love and planning a wedding, the idea of a prenuptial agreement can seem horribly unromantic. But planning ahead makes a lot of sense if one or both partners are already wealthy, in line for a substantial inheritance, or marrying for the second (or more) time.

A well-written prenup can protect existing wealth, family assets, and future prospects, as well as provide reassurance about what will happen if the marriage should ever fail.

However, even the most watertight prenup may not be enforceable if the couple has moved to a different country by the time they decide to divorce.

Will a Prenup Be Recognised by a Foreign Court?

Not always – so if a couple decides to divorce in another country, it’s wise to seek advice about the impact that could have on any prenuptial agreements drawn up in the UK.

If there is an existing pre-nuptial agreement, it should be carefully considered where to file for divorce. If living in another country, a couple may be eligible to divorce in multiple jurisdictions. For example, they may be able to divorce in any country where one or both partners live regularly (for work or study, etc.), live permanently, or a country where either partner is a national.

When making the decision, it's crucial to consider where the prenup was written and whether it is likely to be recognised by the court in that jurisdiction. It's vital to get advice from a specialist international divorce solicitor about which jurisdiction would help achieve the best outcome.

Is a Prenuptial Agreement Necessary When Moving Abroad?

Sport relocation abroad can have significant impacts on families, particularly if the move is semi-permanent, such as transferring to a new club or country.

There are many family law issues to consider, such as Child Arrangement Orders (CAO), but it may also increase the need for a nuptial agreement to be created in that country. Sportsmen and women should certainly seek legal advice before taking up residence in another country, even if they have no plans to divorce.

A prenup could be invaluable if the marriage broke down while living abroad, particularly if either partner is independently wealthy. Even if there is already a prenup in the UK or another jurisdiction, it makes sense to set up a separate agreement that would apply in the new home.

If already married, an additional post-nuptial agreement for that jurisdiction could be commissioned, or an agreement created that any financial settlements will be made in the country where the original prenuptial was written.

Will a Foreign Prenup Be Recognised in the UK?

Consideration may be given to creating a prenup, “matrimonial regime,” “marital property system,” or even an agreement to cover assets abroad, in a different country.

If entering such an arrangement, it’s vital to take account of jurisdictional differences and issues before coming to the UK, and possibly include clauses that will apply in both jurisdictions.

Certainty must be ensured if the worst should happen and a divorce is decided upon, by making sure the courts in both countries will interpret the agreement as intended.

The Benefits of an International Prenup

Even if both partners are British and live in the UK, there are plenty of good reasons to set up a prenuptial agreement. After all, who knows where life or careers could take them?

But the advantages are even greater if the partners are from different countries, have assets or property abroad, or live overseas. It’s always wise for international couples to consider drawing up a prenup that will apply in any relevant jurisdiction. This could be known as an international prenuptial agreement, an ante-nuptial agreement, a premarital agreement, or even simply a marriage contract.

If a divorce is decided upon in the future, an existing international agreement could dramatically simplify proceedings that could otherwise be complicated, baffling, and horribly expensive.

High-Profile Divorces: A Case Study

High-profile divorces, particularly those involving sports figures, are often more complex and present unique challenges compared to typical divorces.

For instance, the divorce of Morocco and Paris Saint-Germain footballer Achraf Hakimi and his wife Hiba Abouk attracted significant media attention due to the unusual financial circumstances involved.

When Abouk filed for divorce and sought half of Hakimi’s assets, she would have been shocked to learn that Hakimi had actually been registering 80 per cent of his earnings and assets under his mother’s name. This significantly complicated Abouk’s efforts to secure a substantial portion of his wealth.

Such instances emphasise the importance of consulting with a specialist divorce lawyer when creating or modifying a nuptial agreement to ensure that financial interests are adequately protected in the event of a divorce.


For professional athletes with complex financial situations, international post and prenups provide essential protection. Whether moving abroad for career advancement or simply planning for the future, these agreements ensure financial security and clarity, allowing athletes to focus on their careers with peace of mind.

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