Aren’t divorces fun?

But almost six years after their £12million fairy-tale nuptials, Bernie Ecclestone’s daughter Petra is divorcing her husband James Stunt in what could be the biggest settlement in celebrity history.
….
Questions have been raised before around the source of Mr Stunt’s money, with the businessman known for keeping his life extremely private.

There’s a prenup in place.

My assumption, one which could be entirely incorrect of course, has always been that he’s not actually got any – or perhaps not much – money of his own. He’s been spending her inheritance in my opinion.

But the joy of a contested divorce like this is that we’ll all find out, won’t we?

38 comments on “Aren’t divorces fun?

  1. I know I should be a better person, but I can’t help look at this and hope, like the Iran-Iraq War, that it is a shame both sides can’t lose.

    However in the interests of gender fairness I hope that the judge sets aside that pre-nup faster than lunchtime’s fish and chips are regurgitated on a Majorcan buck’s night.

  2. I have to say it can’t be any great shock to anyone and all we can hope for is some great spectacle on the way….

  3. ” the businessman known for keeping his life extremely private.”

    Just to add, I’m rather amused by this snark, well done who wrote it.

  4. So it is sad for their children who are likely to die five years earlier than if their parents had stayed together. And also more likely to slut around at an early age if they are girls.

    But apart from that:

    Mr Stunt, 35, was accused of being ‘abusive and violent’ towards his wife during the marriage while the court also heard he ‘took overdoses’.

    So her PR people are obviously already at work. Charming aren’t they?

    The businessman … was also accused of ‘disgraceful behaviour’ during the hearing including calling Petra’s former Formula One boss father a ‘c***’ and ‘making a gun gesture with his hands’.

    Accused by who precisely? Bernie is a c^nt and I don’t think that many would deny it. Who in their right mind thinks that pointing your finger at someone is disgraceful?

    At the end of the hearing, the judge ordered Mr Stunt to leave the family’s £100m Chelsea mansion (right inset) and find rented accommodation while the divorce battle plays out.

    Yeah. He is going to be screwed over isn’t he?

  5. It’s this sort of thing that leads the rich to put money in trust. Little to do with tax, more to do with following generations not pissing it all away or having to give away great chunks to the ex.

  6. Many trusts are now actually included in divorce proceedings now, rules were changed a few years back (correctly in my view).

    Incidentally this first hearing was partially about a trust set up by Bernie. It contained a second home the couple used to live in, which he wanted to stay in now he’s out of the marital home. It was refused, I understand. One drawback of claiming to be very rich is that it’s hard to plead poverty when convenient – he was told to go rent.

    Like Tim, I’ve been wondering about this character for some time, and drawn similar tentative conclusions. Quite how and why the whole relationship worked I have no idea, but hey, it takes all sorts.

    Going to be an interesting period, given we’ve also got the inquest of his brother’s death coming up.

  7. I think that going up against Bernie and some of his friends is likely to prove very painful indeed. He’s known for a certain no-nonsense attitude to business, to put it mildly

  8. I have to say that Bernie’s acceptance of this marriage in the first place is surprising evidence of humanity in the old sod. Clearly he will indulge his little girl regardless of his misgivings.

    If I had been in his position, I’d have risked years of sulking and had the greasy nonce-faced oddball offed very early in the proceedings.

  9. Divorce. What distinguishes those of my contemporaries who are living in rented accommodation and still working, and those that aren’t.

  10. “I have to say that Bernie’s acceptance of this marriage in the first place is surprising evidence of humanity in the old sod.”

    He is quoted as saying he had Stunt checked out and couldn’t find anything. Either he was really nothing, or was shady.

  11. Many trusts are now actually included in divorce proceedings now, rules were changed a few years back (correctly in my view).

    I’m not so sure about the correctly bit. Consider this:

    Man and wife raise 4 kids to adulthood in a large family home. Wife dies, man moves to a new city and buys a second house. Man remarries, lives with new wife in second house and has 2 more kids. New wide never so much as saw the first house. Man and 4 original kids decide to sell first house – what was their family home – and put proceedings in a trust owned by 2 oldest kids with father having a controlling interest. Man and new wife divorce ten years later, and wife’s lawyer demands the trust – proceeds from the family home intended for the 4 original kids – gets considered in the settlement.

  12. “However in the interests of gender fairness I hope that the judge sets aside that pre-nup faster than lunchtime’s fish and chips are regurgitated on a Majorcan buck’s night.”

    Won’t happen. Any case where the woman has the wealth and income rather than the man will be decided in a totally different manner than the converse. Take the case of Katrin Radmacher, whose prenup was upheld for the first time ever in a UK court, when prenups favouring men had previously been thrown out. Similarly recently a case involving a woman who was a city trader successfully argued in court that her 6 year marriage was ‘short’ and for that reason she should keep a larger share of the assets that she had disproportionately earned, and the Appeal court agreed cutting the man’s share to half the property and only 16% of the cash assets. All totally contrary to a litany of cases where men earning the money have been hosed by divorces following short marriages.

  13. My X thought I was Bernie Ecclestone.

    She has had to work the past 20+ years. Makes me smile.

  14. @Jim “All totally contrary to a litany of cases where men earning the money have been hosed by divorces following short marriages”

    All the more reason to be very careful as to who you get involved with.

    All this is ultimately going to be to the disbenefit of the ladies- Blokes are going to be far more choosy as to who they wed (and what’s the position going to be for long term cohabitees?), and ever more clever as to how they manage their previously earned wealth.

    Marriage is supposed to be a lasting bond- not a game you can cash out of when the pot reaches a certain size.

  15. “I’m not so sure about the correctly bit. Consider this:”

    My statement was intentionally broadbrush, and I’ll freely admit I have no idea if your scenario is likely.

    My basic point was that divorcing individuals who are the beneficiaries of assets held in trust should have those benefits considered as part of their wealth.

    Obviously that should be done fairly and in a considered way. I didn’t find your scenario description precise enough to understand (I know you were trying to keep it brief) but for example, the value of his beneficial interest (whatever that actually is – income, lifetime occupation, part ownership) – not the simple value of the property – should be included.

  16. “divorcing individuals who are the beneficiaries of assets held in trust should have those benefits considered as part of their wealth”: but most discretionary family trusts will have a whole list of beneficiaries, not one of whom is entitled to a penny of the assets.

  17. MC said:
    “If I had been in his position, I’d have risked years of sulking and had the greasy nonce-faced oddball offed very early in the proceedings.”

    Apparently Stunt travels around with several Range Rovers full of bodyguards. Don’t know if that’s only to protect himself from his father-in-law, but it might make offing him risky and expensive.

  18. @Richard

    Said fleet also have personalised plates, usually S#UNT. I saw parts of said fleet once or twice when I worked in Chelsea and tended to automatically correct the first letter.

  19. JS

    “All this is ultimately going to be to the disbenefit of the ladies- Blokes are going to be far more choosy as to who they wed (and what’s the position going to be for long term cohabitees?), and ever more clever as to how they manage their previously earned wealth.”

    There is a minority opinion among some family lawyers that legal recognition of marriage should be effectively withdrawn and all couples, married or not, should be treated equally before the law in the event of break -up. This would correct “anomalies” that mean unmarried couples have fewer “rights” (particularly the more vulnerable partner, though I’ve never seen advocates of this position phrase it as also enforcing more responsibilities too).

    It’s not the current direction of travel to abolish marriage as a legal special case, but it is a view more is argued, and at least the extension of some “rights” to unmarried couples during break-up seems likely to me in the future.

  20. Mr Stunt, 35, was accused of being ‘abusive and violent’ towards his wife during the marriage while the court also heard he ‘took overdoses’.

    Ironically if it had been her “taking overdoses” it would have been considered a plus to her case.

  21. Noel Scoper

    “He is quoted as saying he had Stunt checked out and couldn’t find anything. Either he was really nothing, or was shady.”

    Stunt is perhaps just the ultimate PUA, he masquerades as a rich, shady, arsehole in order to pull rich daddy’s girls, while behind the scenes is an upright businessman.

  22. Ha – what a surprise – men have learned that marriage is a mug’s game so co-habitees get the same rights wives would have got!

    I’m never fucking marrying again I know that for sure

  23. If you want the legal benefits, sign up to the legal contract. If you don’t want to sign up to the legal contract, you don’t get the legal benefits.

  24. “If you want the legal benefits, sign up to the legal contract. If you don’t want to sign up to the legal contract, you don’t get the legal benefits.”

    We’re talking feminists here, having their cake and eating it is a given.

  25. @ jgh/Jim
    Not quite right.
    Feminists who want the legal benfits of marriage should get it whether they sign up or not, men don’t get it on divorce/separation whether they sign up or not. The only benefit for men is handing down their peerage where only legitimate children count (or Viscount 🙂 ).

  26. “Most discretionary family trusts will have a whole list of beneficiaries, not one of whom is entitled to a penny of the assets.”

    I didn’t say the beneficiaries should be included. I said the *benefits* should be included. These are different things.

    If you are technically a beneficiary but can benefit only in some limited way, or not at all, then only that limited benefit should count as part of your wealth.

  27. Incidentally, this issue of lobbying to extend the rights of marriage to all co-habited couples has bothered me for a long time.

    I think we can all see how it is unjust, but it was really brought home to me by a Facebook acquaintance. She took a day off work along with four friends/colleagues to attend some feminist lobbying event of MPs on the issue, wearing T-shirts to support the cause.

    The punchline is – they are all divorce lawyers. Effectively posing as concerned citizen-activists. Not surprised they got the day off. Pretty shady really.

  28. @Oblong

    Hah! But it is logical – not just from the point of view of lobbying for their business interests, but within the whole world view. “Extending the rights of marriage” means vulnerable people who couldn’t afford the protection of marriage will be protected, as well as cultural groups abandoned by the legal system. Polygamous wives are especially vulnerable – poor, often not English-speaking, marginalised by society because of their sex, ethnic minority status and phobia against their religion, often very dependent on their man…yet the state marriage system refuses to recognise their relationship leaving them unprotected. Moreover, wealthy men (mostly) who realise the legal implications of the rights of marriage and thereby deliberately avoid it have a similar moral status to tax evaders – they seek all the benefits of a relationship but don’t want to be liable for their responsibilities.

    Funny how the state can be chased out of the bedroom on the one hand, but invited right back in with the other.

  29. “If you are technically a beneficiary but can benefit only in some limited way, or not at all, then only that limited benefit should count as part of your wealth.”

    Then if you are a beneficiary of a discretionary trust, it will count “not at all”. That may well cover most cases.

  30. “The punchline is – they are all divorce lawyers.”

    Just like Labour’s Human Rights laws – all pushed by lawyers wanting another gravy train.

  31. This is going to be a case that is watched closely by those of us in the Private Client field. Will Radmacher be distinguished as between two foreigners (when they signed the prenup); will there be a successful attack on the trust. Presumably both sides have lawyered up with the best (well at least she has), so it will be a full frontal assault.

    On a related front, when Hollande proposed his 75% tax on UHNW, I was contacted by a French businessman who was being encouraged by his actress wife to move to the UK as a non-dom. It struck me as a bit odd that an actress would know about the non-dom remittance basis of taxation, so I asked my client if he happened to have a little something on the side. He answered in a matter of fact tone, “I am French”. I then asked about his wife. His answer was “She is not French but knew the situation when we married”.

    I then reminded him that tax was a % of income. Divorce settlements were a % of capital. He dismissed my advice, took the risk and moved to the UK, or as his wife’s new divorce lawyer described it recently, “established comity with the UK family law courts”.

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