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Daryana Epikhina tells what division of property between spouses can be considered “extremely disadvantageous”

The law allows a marriage contract to be declared null and void upon a claim by a spouse who has been “severely disadvantaged”. The case law explains what does this mean. The courts do not consider the unequal division of property to be grounds to annul a prenuptial agreement. An example of such a case was given by Daryana Epikhina, Senior Associate at Petrol Chilikov.

In Case No. 5-KG16-174 in 2016, the Supreme Court pointed out that, not only complete deprivation of property, but also significant disproportionality of shares may be a sign of extreme disadvantage, Epikhina points out. The court shall decide whether the disproportionality is essential or not in the circumstances of a specific case. To challenge a prenuptial agreement, the disproportionality has to be very substantial, Epikhina emphasises. The Timonins’ case does not show how the property was divided, but it does show that the wife received a substantial amount of money: a flat and a garage in St. Petersburg, a flat in London, paintings, a jewellery collection, and monetary compensation. A spouse who has received substantial property, even if it is several times less than half of all the assets, cannot speculate in the future about the disproportionate division, continues Epikhina.

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