Only Human: Cheryl's Marital Mistakes

11th January 2016 Family Law

In this age of modern celebrity, one of the most notable figures in the UK is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

Made famous - and wealthy - as a member of a talent show group before embarking on a solo career, she married a Premier League footballer and became a regular in glossy TV adverts prior to almost going full-circle to be a judge on the type of entertainment programme which resulted in her original break.

A regular on the gossip pages and with almost six million followers on social media, she seems to spend her entire time in the spotlight, which is why news that she is divorcing her second husband - the French restaurateur, Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini - has caught the eye of media and more informal commentators alike.

There may naturally be factors in the breakdown of their 18-month marriage which are peculiar to the very rich and the very, very well-known. However, I believe that there are certain issues which also apply to those without fame and fortune.

If you recall, Cheryl married just three months after meeting her husband, a relatively swift courtship which apparently took friends, fans and media by surprise.

It was a development which is out of keeping with the prevailing course of 21st-century romance in England and Wales, where marriage generally follows a longer relationship and - increasingly - cohabitation.

The reason why I believe that to be significant is that living together offers the opportunity for prospective spouses to get to know one another. In Ms Fernandez-Versini's case, it appears that her attempts at marital bliss second time around partially foundered on her husband's inability to speak English with any fluency.

Establishing and maintaining good communication, whether in a shared tongue or not, is one of the critical ingredients in a successful relationship. Many of the divorces with which I and my colleagues in JMW's Family department deal, have - in whole or in part - difficulties with communication.

There is one other point which I think is worth raising, something will strike a chord with many people, regardless of whether they share a musical profession with Cheryl or not.

Newspaper reports suggest that she and her husband didn't have a prenuptial agreement in place before they wed.

Given that she had been divorced once before and that she has amassed a considerable fortune, I believe that a pre-nup would have been entirely appropriate for the pair.

Many couples without their profile now recognise their potential to defuse dispute should their marriages not come to a natural end. Perhaps, Ms Fernandez-Versini believed her remarriage would be a triumph of hope over experience.

Even though there is an emphasis on restoring spouses exiting a short marriage back to the respective financial positions which they had before a wedding, I reckon that she will still be ruing not putting a pre-nup in place in order to ensure that it's not just her "little raindrops" which are messy.

 

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Jo-Anna Jellings is an Associate Solicitor located in Manchester Londonin our Family department

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