It would be silly for Mariah Carey not to get a prenup when she marries James Packer.

According to Forbes, he is worth a cool $5.2 billion while CNN money notes that she hasn’t done that bad, with a stellar accumulation of $670 million. Yet neither has a track record that suggests success in the marriage department, with four failed marriages between them averaging at just under 5 years duration.

In fact, the longest of all 4 unions, Ms Carey’s marriage to Nick Cannon, only just got past the seven year itch. Mr Cannon describes himself rather modestly on his website as a film star, comedian, TV and radio host, musician, writer, director, executive producer and philanthropist. Clearly, ‘dedicated spouse’ just couldn’t fit on his business card.

But times are a changing my friends and love is once again in the air! Cupid’s arrow has managed to prick through the toughened skins of these multiple divorce offenders, and marriage is now on the near horizon.


Image via Getty.

Mariah says she doesn't want a prenup.

Now don't get me wrong I truly ruly want this one to work out for them, but with an obligatory ode to caution, I think Mariah that you need to put your 'vision of love' aside because 'one sweet day' you may be regretting not having that financial agreement (or prenup) with Mr Packer.

There are changes afoot to the current laws.

The Family Law Amendment Bill which has already had its second reading in the Senate aims to fix the old adage, that financial agreements aren't worth the paper they're printed on. This bill is indeed very close to being passed into law and will catapult the integrity of a prenup (or any other financial agreement made during marriage or separation), by ensuring that participants to a financial agreement take their responsibilities under the Family Law Act more seriously.

It will also mean that lawyers don't have to suffer and deal with advice given to prospective newlyweds later being forensically examined and questioned in the courts when things go south. Challenging agreements will be a much harder ball game.


So what are these changes and how do they affect couples and their lawyers?

Measures in this Bill will resolve uncertainties around requirements for entering into, interpreting and enforcing agreements. The new provisions will introduce a very clear statement of principles to outline the binding nature of financial agreements.

There are also changes slated to spousal maintenance matters in agreements. The Bill has a new provision that maintenance provisions will end when the party awarded it remarries or enters a de facto agreement (unless the agreement provided that maintenance continued regardless of a new relationship).

The Bill also removes the need for lawyers to advise clients about the pros and cons of making the agreement at the time the legal advice is given. When the amendments in the Bill are made law, lawyers will only be required to advise their client of the effect of the financial agreement on the rights of a party under the Family Law Act.

Watch: People reveal when they realised it was time for a divorce. Post continues after video...  


These measures are obviously intended to ensure that prospective, current or former parties to a marriage, or a de facto relationship, take greater responsibility for working out financial and maintenance matters with certainty, and keeping it out of court.

These changes will remove much of the doubt that use to waft around prenups. All that, "the lawyer didn't really explain it that well" nonsense, which often ended in long-winded litigation and further burden to already aggrieved couples, will soon beggar belief.

So Mariah, I need you to rethink your feelings about the prenup.

I know there's a school of thought that says it amounts to a prediction of failure, and is nothing more than a contract with someone you don't really trust.

But I'd rather think of it, for two seasoned vets on the merry-go-round of marriage, as something that buys you peace of mind and a handy lever to work out any potential dispute (God forbid!)... if he turns out not to be your 'hero'.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn and has been republished here with full permission. You can find more from Mark on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Mark is currently completing Masters studies in advanced succession and family law litigation at ANU and his new website, The Legal Eagle, offers free legal info about family, consumer, neighbour and estate law (wills etc.) and should be ready to take flight in the next couple of months.